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1924 Helen 2017

Helen Florence Rife

January 10, 1924 — August 18, 2017

HELEN FLORENCE RIFE January 10, 1924 – August 18, 2017                   Helen Florence Rife, age 93, a lifelong Sebeka, MN area resident, peacefully passed into eternity in the early morning hours of Friday, August 18, 2017 at the Lakewood Care Center in Staples, MN where she had been undergoing therapy following hip surgery.                 Helen was born on January 10, 1924 to John and Meta (Burgau) Meckola on the home farm located in Meadow Township of Wadena County.  She attended the District # 52 Country School through the eighth grade and then went on to graduate from the Sebeka High School with the Class of 1941.  As a young woman, Helen ventured to Minneapolis where she worked as a housekeeper.  Later she gained employment at the Gopher Theatre in Mpls where she met and fell in love with John E. Rife.  The young couple was married on November 14, 1942 at her parent’s farm in rural Meadow Township.  They were blessed with five children:  John Jr., Tom, Cherie, Jim and Timmy and three step-children: Allan, Karen Sue and Diane.  After living in several cities, John and Helen were happy to settle with their young family on a farm in Meadow Township near Sebeka where she has made her home for the past 67 years.  Helen dedicated herself to making a warm and loving home for her husband and children.  She was a wonderful cook and baker who will be long remembered for her delicious homemade meals with an abundance of homemade breads, pies and cakes always present.  In addition to working alongside her husband in operating a successful farm, she and John purchased the Chevrolet dealership in Sebeka in 1966, which together they worked as a team to build and operate.  In 1976, they rebuilt the auto showroom and garage on its present location and transformed the old garage into Rife’s Stop-N-Shop.  Helen was a long time and faithful member of the Zion Lutheran Church in North Germany Township.  She was also a long time member of the Sebeka American Legion Post #456 Auxiliary.  When her children were younger she was active as a leader of the Pine Cone 4-H Club and she was very active in the work and mission of the Wadena County DAC in Sebeka where her son, Tim was active for many years.  Helen was a loyal fan of the MN Twins and always felt “this might be their year”.  Above all, Helen devoted her life to her husband, her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren who she loved with all her heart.                 She will be lovingly remembered by her three daughters: Karen Sue (Errol) Keith of Loudon, TN, Diane Notch of North Branch, MN and Cherie (Thomas) Rife Smylie of Edgewood, NM; four sons: Allan (Joyce) Rife of Menahga, MN, John Jr. (Mildred) Rife of Nowthen, MN, Tom Rife of Mounds View, MN, Jim (Tanya) Rife of Sebeka, MN; 18 grandchildren: Dawn Marie Minton,  Shawn Vazquez, Allan Rife, Jr., Cody Rife, Wayne Rife, Michelle Brufoldt, Jason Rife, Jana Rife, Troy Rife, Bryan Rife, David Rife, Jamie Smylie, Ashley Maijala, Austin Rife, Ajay Rife, Autumn Rife, Alec Rife and Ava Lee Rife; 25 great grandchildren and one great great grandson; two sisters: ShurLee Swaim of Roseville, MN and Darlene Milbradt of Lakewood, CO; two brothers: Marlyn (Vi) Meckola of Parkville, MN and Duane “Sonny” (Barb) Meckola of Duck Lake, MN; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.  Helen was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John; her precious son, Timmy and her parents.                 Funeral services were held 12 Noon Monday, August 21, 2017 at the Grace Lutheran Church in Sebeka with the Reverend Ray Hendrickson officiating.  The special music was provided by granddaughter, Shawn Rife Vazquez who played piano and sang, “Just As I Am”.   Aaliyah Lee sang, “Once And For All”.  The two singers will perform to a special rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings”.  Congregational hymns were:  “How Great Thou Art” and “In The Garden”.  Casket bearers were her ten grandsons and the honorary casketbearers were her eight granddaughters and all of her great grandchildren.  Interment will be made in the Sebeka West Cemetery.  Visitation was held from 5 to 8 PM Sunday, August 20th at the Grace Lutheran Church in Sebeka and again on Monday beginning one hour prior to the service. 
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