Winter Holiday 05

Ann Margaret (Aga) Helmke

June 6, 1923 ~ December 5, 2023 (age 100) 100 Years Old

Ann Helmke Obituary

In Loving Memory of

Ann Margaret Helmke

Ann Helmke was born on June 6, 1923, on the family farm in Lowville Township, Murray County Minnesota to Lars and Margaret (Vallance) Aga.  She attended Country School District 72, graduating from Lake Wilson High School in 1941, and furthering her education with one year of business college in Minneapolis. Ann married Ralph Julius Helmke on September 26, 1942. They lived in Minneapolis while Ann worked as one of the first women to make boxes at the Armour packing plant in St. Paul. They moved back to the area, living on the farm and then “Midway Store” between Lake Wilson and Ruthton. After selling the store they lived in Ruthton, Pipestone, and finally settled back in Lake Wilson.  Ann was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the WELCA. She joined the Eastern Star in 1941 and continued until the local chapters disbanded. She belonged to the Lake Wilson American Legion Auxiliary and was an active member of the Hadley Lioness.  Ann worked outside the home her entire adult life, Gert’s Cafe and Johnson’s Grocery Store, and later joined Ralph at the Buffalo Ridge Bar. For some time, Ann worked at all three jobs.  She eventually worked exclusively at the Buffalo Ridge Bar and retired at 65. Not being ready for retirement, she returned to the bar and continued part time until she was 85.  She took pride in working that bar as if it was her own. She enjoyed all the friends she met during those years.  Ann spent many years as a Bison baseball fan and ran the concession stand. Sundays were spent getting the concessions ready and following the Bison wherever they went. At 98 she was blessed to watch her great grandson pitch for the Chicago White Sox against the Minnesota Twins.  She loved to dance, and she and Ralph would spend a great deal of time dancing in their younger years.  She loved outings with her friends, as she outlived most of those friends, she found new groups of girls to do things with and treasured those trips and outings for years as well as many with her family.  Ann enjoyed playing cards she especially loved playing pinochle and golf with her family.  Ann seldom missed a Happy Hour at the BRB or Hadley. She loved socializing and enjoyed that so many considered her “mom” or friend. When she could no longer drive, Ann looked forward to going with her son Scott and his wife Debbie, making her last visit on her 100th birthday.  Ann loved a party especially one of her own!  As time went on, she spent time playing solitaire, reading, working crossword puzzles, and watching(critiquing) polka on Saturday nights. Her love of music continued as she could often be heard singing along with hymns at Our House. Ann also enjoyed having pets, the last being her best friend, Alley Cat.  Ann started receiving care from Murray County Hospice in her home in September of 2021, moving to Our House in June of 2022, passing away there on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, with family by her side.

Ann is preceded in death by her parents, three brothers George/Sarah, Gordon, and John (Raymond)/Donna, one sister Doris/Vinal Severeid, husband, daughter Carol, son Scott, grandson Patrick Helmke, Ralph’s parents Fred and Margaret Helmke, and his siblings and their spouses. She is survived by  her children and their spouses; son-in-law, Glenn Heuer, Windsor Colorado, Cyndi/ Bob Holm, Cannon Falls, MN, Greg/ Faye Helmke, Lake Wilson, MN, Charlene/ Fred Steensma, Slayton, MN, daughter-in-law, Debbie Helmke, Lake Wilson, MN, Randy/ Tammy Helmke, Hutchinson, MN, and Michele/Steve Steffl Lake Wilson MN,  15 grandchildren, Brian, Brooke, Dan, Matt, Scott, Amy, Seth, Vicki, Ann, Adam, Audrey Anna, Tyler, Dustin, Jessica, and Laura Ann, two-step-grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, 12 step-great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren and three step-great-great-grandchildren.

Memorial Services

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lake Wilson, MN on Friday December 29, 2023, at 11:00 A.M. with Rev. Robert Ossefoort officiating.  The organist is Darlene Bose.  The honorary pallbearers are her grandsons.  Interment is at Hillside Cemetery in Lake Wilson, MN.  


Visitation will be on Thursday, December 28, 2023, at the Totzke Funeral Home in Slayton from 4-6 p.m. and one hour prior to the services at the church on Friday. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to Murray County Hospice.  To view online obituary and send condolences visit


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December 28, 2023

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Totzke Funeral Home
2100 Broadway Ave.
Slayton, Minnesota 56172

Memorial Service
December 29, 2023

11:00 AM
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
450 Carrie Ave.
Lake Wilson, Minnesota 56151


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