Helen Gertrude (Yanisch) Betlach, age 88, of River Falls, died Monday, May 30, 2016 at Comforts of Home in River Falls, Wisconsin.
Helen was born September 3, 1927 on the family farm in Trimbelle Township, Pierce County, Wisconsin to Theodore and Gertrude (Rasmus) Yanisch and was delivered by her maternal grandmother, Sarah Belle Ingalls. Helen attended grade school in Beldenville, WI, walking the two miles to and from school or riding her toboggan down Thurston Hill in the winter months. During her childhood, Native Americans often visited the household. Helen graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1946. It’s no surprise that with her love of music and dancing, she met her future husband at Proch’s Popular Ballroom in Ellsworth. Helen was united in marriage to LeRoy Betlach on September 12, 1946 at St. Francis Catholic Church in Ellsworth. They bought LeRoy’s family farm from his parents (John & Mary (Kryzer) Betlach) where they raised four children. Helen’s vegetable gardens provided the family with food throughout the year. She raised chickens, helped with milking and feeding the livestock, and drove the tractor during haying season. Spare time was spent fishing at many local lakes with family and friends, at the cabins in Grantsburg and Danbury, or polka dancing on Saturday nights in Ellsworth or Bay City. Upon retirement, she and LeRoy spent many years traveling the country in their camper and rock hunting with other members of the St. Croix Valley Rockhound Club. They were married 65 years until his death in 2011.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband LeRoy; sisters Dorothy (Fred) Langer of Ellsworth, and Marie (Ralph) Johnson of Maiden Rock; brothers Warren (Marjorie) Yanisch and Allen (Marjorie) Yanisch of Ellsworth; brothers-in-law Gerald Betlach, Laverne Jensen, and Lamoine Krear, and sister-in-law Irene Jensen, all of River Falls; and nephew Greg Yanisch of Ellsworth, and niece Betty (Jensen) Dopkins of River Falls.
Helen is survived by four children: Jeanne (Peter) Bergman, Cottage Grove, MN; Gary (Marilyn) Betlach, Darlene MacBride (fiancé John Widdifield), and Wayne (Julie) Betlach, all of River Falls; seven grandchildren: Lisa (Adam) Flood, John Bergman, Sarah Bergman, Rachel (Matt) Woehrle, Jenny Harris, Laura MacBride and Katie MacBride; and four great-grandchildren: Justin and Dylan Woehrle, and Owen and Esme Flood; sisters-in-law Bernice (Lamoine) Krear and Sylvia (Gerald) Betlach, both of River Falls; and several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Helen’s life will be held on Saturday, June 25th at Cashman-Hill Funeral Home at 11:30am with visitation one hour before the service.
Heartfelt thanks are extended to the staff at Comforts of Home in River Falls and St. Croix Hospice for their care and kindness to Helen for the last few years.