STEVENSVILLE - Helen Thrasher, age 101 and my mother, passed away peacefully at her home, with her beloved dog, Cuddles, by her side, on December 16th, 2021. The following is the obituary she wrote with a few additions from myself.
Helen was born January 2nd, 1920, in Belle Plane, IA, to Christian and Ella Finkbeiner. She and her siblings, John, Elsie, and Dorothy, spent many happy childhood days on their parents’ homestead ranch near Powderville, MT. After Helen graduated from the Dillon Normal College she taught in a rural school at Biddle, MT. She later moved with her sisters to Seattle, WA where they worked as riveters during WW2. She also taught in Marysville, WA where, on a blind date, she met Frank Thrasher.
In 1945 she married Frank in Wichita, KA and eventually settled near Bozeman, MT where Helen attained her bachelor’s degree from Montana State University. She taught at the Lower Bridger School and then taught first grade at the Whittier School. While an educator, she received recognition as Honorary Teacher Delta Kappa Gamma and Honorary Scholastic from Phi Kappa Phi. She was a gifted teacher who loved her profession and the children she taught. In 1958 they welcomed their daughter, Jill, into their lives.
In 1964 they moved to San Luis Obispo, CA when Frank took a position as professor at Cal Poly. Here Helen earned a master’s degree in education at Cal Poly and taught first and second grade at Margaret Harloe Elementary School. During this time, they built a home in SLO and purchased land in the Gallatin Canyon where many happy summers were spent. They also traveled extensively throughout the US with their daughter.
After their retirement, Frank and Helen enjoyed summers at their mountain home in Stevensville, MT. Their grandsons, John and Kevin, spent many happy days at this home learning skills from their grandparents. Frank and Helen also spent many weekends camping in the Bitterroot Valley as a family. Frank passed away in 1999, and though Helen continued to spend summers in Montana and winters in San Luis Obispo, she eventually sold the SLO property in 2006.
Helen is survived by daughter Jill Deppel (Doug), grandsons John (Michelle) and Kevin Deppel, as well as many caring nieces and nephews.
Per her request, a small family service will be held this summer in Bozeman. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue or a local humane society. She dearly loved animals and rescued four Rottweilers in her later years.
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