Helen Carolyn Wikblad Lundgren passed on January 30, 2023, at home with family, after a courageous battle with declining health. Helen was 90. Born in Duluth, MN on September 19, 1932 to Ida and Sextus Wikblad and big brother Bob, Helen grew up in Central Hillside, graduating in 1950 from Central High School. She enjoyed summers at the family cabin on Schultz Lake, sang in the Gloria Dei Church choir, and worked as a dental hygienist downtown where she met her lifelong love – Dale Lundgren. They were married at Gloria Dei on February 5, 1955. Helen died just shy of their 68th wedding anniversary, a long, loving legacy.
It is doubtful that Helen could have imagined the adventurous life she and Dale would have when they married. With faith, patience, and hope in the future, they packed up household and children, moving from city to city, state to state for 17 years before permanently settling in Gainesville, Florida with all six children in tow. Dale secured a professorship in Environmental Engineering at the University of Florida and a new adventure began. While Helen’s love of Duluth and northern Minnesota never faded, she was perfectly happy trading in winters for more temperate weather. In the 50 years spent in Gainesville, there was only 1 move and that was to “the land” – natural Florida habitat with 100+ year old Live Oak trees bordered by the Santa Fe River and Moccasin Creek, cypress domes and home to deer, wild turkeys, a bobcat, and endangered gopher tortoises. Helen helped Dale clear much of the overgrowth by hand. He designed the house and they settled into a new, pastural life.
Helen loved nature. As a family, Helen and Dale brought their children to many National Park lands sharing a love of nature with all. Helen and Dale traveled frequently across the continent by car and train to enjoy the wildlife and exquisite beauty of North America. Helen’s life-long dream of visiting Africa was realized in 1980’s when Dale booked a safari adventure. Helen often traveled with Dale to conferences around the world. With ample curiosity, she explored on her own. For someone who had seldom left Duluth growing up, Helen managed to find her way around Paris, Germany, China, Australia and 40 other countries.
A creative woman, Helen loved to make things with her hands. The house was often filled with her projects – macrame, decoupage, sewing, ceramics, refinishing furniture, knitting afghans for all her children and grandchildren. Helen loved flowers. She was an avid gardener and plant lover. She had beautiful orchids and violets happily blooming year after year.
Helen is preceded in death by her son, Steven and granddaughter, Emily. She is survived by 5 children, 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Daughter Cynthia, grandchildren Heidi and Daniel (Nicole) great-grandchildren Luciana & Sunniva all in Minneapolis, MN. Daughter-in-law Jimmie (Gainesville). Daughter Karen grandchildren Andrew and Nicole (Michael), great-grandchildren Elin and Leo all in St. Pete. Daughter Linda, grandsons Nicholas and Sean (all in Gainesville). Daughter Katy (David), grandchildren Dale (Vivi), Patrick, and Anna all in Gainesville. Son James, (Gainesville), grandson Michael (Hannah). To the many who knew and loved Helen, she will live in our hearts forever.
Funeral Services will be held on Friday, February 10, 2023 at 12pm at Trinity United Methodist Church; 4000 NW 53rd Ave, Gainesville. The family will receive friends at the church from 10-12 pm. Burial will follow at Forest Meadows Cemetery- Central.