Saturday, December 6, 2008

Uncle Helmer

Uncle Helmer died this week, 21 days shy of his 97th birthday. As Connie said, "I think the Lord forgot about him."

I reread the memoirs he had written, very well-done for a man with only a high school education, but was most moved by the last paragraph of the written by my Aunt Ruth. (The last pages were memories written by three of his sisters, including my mother, and one of his sisters-in-law.)

"Helmer loved to sing. Mother asked him once why he was always singing. He replied, "It's always singing inside of me so I have to." Kids in school used to get him into the barn (rural schools also had barns) and there they had "request" programs. He knew so many of the war songs during the war (WWI) time so he entertained. Their teacher wondered what was going on out there so she went to investigate. There they were with Helmer in the center of the group filling requests for songs."

He was a terrific singer - a beautiful and resounding bass - and Aunt Karine was a strong alto. They sang in the church choir all their lives, and I wonder if they ever kept track of how many funerals they sang for. Our church choir was very small, and he was only bass. That's all they needed. Anymore would have been over-powering.

I hope they have some good music at the funeral on Tuesday.
Labels: Helmer's funeral
Link: Nornes News Notes

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Uncle Helmer passed away this morning at the nursing home in Fergus Falls, where he had been for several years. He would have been 97 years old on Christmas Eve. He was the youngest, but the longest-lived male in the Nornes family. He was the last to die of his generation of which there were 21 members in the US and 1 in Norway, the grandchildren of Børre and Gunhild Bjørnsen.