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HAMILTON - Helen Mabel Haley Jenkins, of Hamilton, MT, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 22, 2019 at the Remington Assisted Living Facility. She was 103.
Dr. Prince came by horse and buggy to deliver Helen, on December 18, 1915 in Middle Burnt Fork, Stevensville, Mt. to James Patrick and Marilla Mae (Porch) Haley.
She would ride in a fancy buggy hooked to pristine horses for Sabbath School or town. She rode in her first car, when she was around eight. Her favorite time of week was Sunday, when her mother (known for her culinary abilities) made fried chicken and homemade ice cream. At Eight, Helen moved to Stevensville and there the family boarded school teachers, and she helped her mother with delivering babies.
She was married to Clayton Boon Jenkins when she was 18 on December 24, 1933, during the great depression. She and her husband settled on 20 acres and built a one room building, giving birth to her three of her four children Marlene, Barbara and Jimmie. The home had no water so water was carried by hand along with performing other daily duties. For example, cows were milked, chicken eggs gathered, apples picked in the orchard, a large garden tended to, caring for the children, cleaning house and cooking meals. She earned enough money from selling her eggs for .10 per dozen, milk, garden vegetables and fruit to keep her family fed through the winter and purchase staples.
Her husband drove school bus and the family lived on $68.00 a month, they saved money enough to drill a pump well, build the rest of the home and buy more acreage to raise hay and grain. She and her husband sold their ranch for $8000.00 and moved to Sula and had their 4th child Don Jenkins.
They had a 530 acre high country ranch, with no running water or electricity. She washed laundry on a memory board daily. There were very cold mornings -40 below (one day) and they had to go and keep the cows moving so they would not freeze to death. The ranch was sold for $32,000.00.
After selling the ranch Helen and her husband roamed the hills and mountains prospecting for ores and minerals. They had several mines and it was a huge hit for the children to help their Dad with the mines. As Helen would say, “We never hit the mother load, but spent many happy times in the beautiful mountains. God has given us a wonderful country.”
After the prospecting years she moved to Darby and then later to Lost Trail Hot Springs, (known then as Galogly Hot Springs). There Helen and her husband ran the Lost Trail Camp. She cooked for the boys and girls there from the East on summer break. Many children that she cared for in the camp have settled in Montana. She remained grateful and pleased to serve as the camp cook for 21 years. Helen and her husband retired to Corvallis where her husband passed.
After her husband passed away, she remained in the Bitterroot Valley caring for her community, producing canned goods, growing beautiful flower gardens and faithfully being a part of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. On September 25, 2018 she was honored as a Centenarian by Governor.
It is hard to some up all the wonderful accomplishments for a beautiful 103-year-old angle in a short story, but her memories, qualities and the foot print she left on the Bitterroot Valley will be carried by all those you had the honor to have Helen be a part of their lives. She has always said, “the secret to long life is to walk the area in which you live.”
Helen was preceded in death by her father, James Patrick Haley; her mother, Marilla Mae Haley; her husband, Clayton; daughter, Marlene Johnson; grandson, Robert Lindquist; and 2 granddaughters, Sharon Weidow and Jill Jenkins.
Surviving family include her sons, Jim Jenkins and his wife Louise of Darby and Don Jenkins and his wife Bonnie of Skull Valley, AZ; daughter, Barbara Kline of Hamilton; 16 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and 22 great-great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hamilton with a reception following. Interment will take place at the Corvallis Cemetery.
The family suggests Memorial donations to the Seventh Day Adventist Church or a charity of the donor’s choice.
The family would like to thank great granddaughters’ Alex Standford, Valisha Needles and their families for all the care and compassion the bestowed upon Helen. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchape.com.