(3/6/13) Birdine E. Smith, 91, of Black River Falls passed away Tuesday morning, March 5, 2013, at the home of daughter and son-in-law, Dianne and William Marti, while under the care of Black River Memorial Hospice.
Birdine Elaine Helle was born December 7, 1921 in Skutley Coulee, near Taylor, Wisconsin to Emil and Bertilda (Borreson) Helle. She was baptized and confirmed at the Trempealeau Valley Lutheran Church in Taylor, WI. She was raised on the family farm and graduated from Taylor High School in 1940. Her sister, Norma, and she were often called, "The Gold Dust Twins" and sang at various high school programs. As a young woman, Birdine did housekeeping for various families and when in Milwaukee was employed at Lee Engineering.
She married Glen H. Smith on January 22, 1943 in Milwaukee. They lived in Milwaukee a short time and later in Hixton, Disco, and Wisconsin Dells. They also farmed in Iowa for a few years prior to moving to Black River Falls where they resided since 1950. Glen preceded her in death on June 21, 2012, six months before celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. Born to them were two daughters, Dianne and Darlene, and one son, Ronald.
Birdine was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She enjoyed homemaking and she was an excellent seamstress. She loved to bake and would always have a cup of coffee and goodies for anyone who came to visit. She was a tiny woman with a big heart and always appreciative of anything done for her. She was patient, gentle, kind, and a wonderful loving person. Most of all, she loved her family and treasured the times spent with them. She especially enjoyed playing cards with her two great-grandchildren.
Birdine is survived by her daughter, Dianne (William) Marti of Black River Falls, two grandchildren, Michelle (Kevin) Bigley, of West Salem and Todd Marti of Fargo, ND, two great grandchildren, Stephanie and Matthew Bigley, brother-in-law, James Smith of Bastrop, TX., sister-in-law, Wilva Marshall of Black River Falls, and brother-in-law, Orlin Smith of Gatesville, TX., and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Glen, one infant daughter and an infant son, Darlene and Ronald, her parents, seven sisters, Mildred Helle, Leneva Jacobson, Myrtle Hoem, Hazel Renning, Norma McNamer, Marcella Haeuser, and Doris Blom, five brothers, Gaylord, Omer, Eldon, Leonard, and Douglas Helle. She was the last surviving member of the Helle Family.
Funeral services for Birdine Smith will be held at 11 A.M. Monday, March 11, 2013 at the Black River Falls Evangelical Lutheran Church. Pastor Eric Bakken officiated. Relatives and friends called at Torgerson's Funeral Home Sunday afternoon, March 10, from 2-4 P.M. and at the church from 10 A.M. until the time of services. Interment will be held at Riverside Cemetery in Black River Falls.
Memorials may be given to either the Evangelical Lutheran Church or Black River Memorial Hospice.
The family wishes to extend sincere gratitude to Rev. Eric Bakken, Drs. Gary Petersen and James Dickman, and the Black River Memorial Hospice Employees for the wonderful care given to Birdine. An enormous thank you to my very dear friend, Alice Larkin, for all of her many, many kindnesses and support throughout my mother's illness.