February 29, 1924 – December 26, 2020
Helen Roberts of Coos Bay passed away peacefully in her home on December 26, 2020, in the company of her daughter and son. She was 96. Helen was born on February 29, 1924, in the Black Hills of South Dakota to Eino August and Hilma Allena Matti, where she and her younger sister Dorothy were raised.
Helen graduated from Lead High School in 1942 and was editor of her high school newspaper, the Lead Hi Nugget. The Matti girls were young adults when the family moved west to North Bend, Oregon. Helen was employed by the Evans Company, and on her daily walks to work past Tower Motor Company she caught the eye of a handsome employee there, Kenneth Roberts, a WWII glider pilot home again in Coos Bay after serving his country in Europe. The two were married on June 19, 1948, in a simple ceremony attended by a small group of family and friends. They honeymooned in the San Juan Islands of Washington, returning to Coos Bay to begin what would become a lifelong romance that touched the lives of their children, family, friends, and community.
Helen was a talented cook, seamstress, and needle worker who stitched beautiful clothing for her three daughters and son, created intricate cross stitching that adorned their cozy home, and every year baked plates full of Christmas cookies enjoyed by neighbors and family alike. Full of energy, she was an avid reader and crossword puzzle whiz who enjoyed gardening, canning, and family camping trips and picnics. Helen’s loving care of others extended to her elderly relatives at the end of their lives. She was the heart of the Roberts home, a dedicated wife and mother who always put her family first. She is deeply missed.
Helen was preceded in death by Ken, her husband of 55 years, and her sister Dorothy Donnelly of Eugene. She is survived by her four children, Joanne Noren of Hillsboro, Jeanne Laird of Jacksonville, Teresa Roberts and Steven Roberts, both of Coos Bay; her nine grandchildren, Alison, Ashley, Courtney, Erik, Emily, Sarah, Peter, Stephanie, and Mark; and her three great grandchildren, Sage, Fiona, and Jesse.
A graveside service was held on December 29, 2020, at Sunset Memorial Cemetery, with Rev. Robert Wolf and Rev. Anthony Ahamefule presiding. Robin O’Neill provided beautifully soothing music on her harp. The family is deeply grateful for the loving care provided to Helen by Fely Keuhn and by Li Ming and Cindy of South Coast Hospice.
Memorial donations made to South Coast Hospice in Helen’s honor will be greatly appreciated.