Funeral services for Helen Marty, age 95, of Spearfish, SD, formerly of Zeona, SD, were held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 9, 2018 at the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spearfish, SD. Pastor Marcia Brennan and Deacon Laura Lee Campbell officiated. Burial was at 3:00 p.m. on Monday at the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Zeona, SD.
Helen Carmen (Wells) Marty was born October 29, 1922 to Jesse Wells and Anna (Hoveland) Wells at her grandma’s house near Havelock, ND.
During the depression years, the family moved from South Dakota to Fifty-Six, Arkansas where she graduated from Mountain View High School. Helen often talked about the many good years spent in the Ozark Mountains. They filled countless evenings singing, with her mother playing the piano by ear and her brother on the guitar and the mouth harp.
When Helen was a young girl, she often walked down the road to have dinner with the pastor and his wife. One evening, while walking home from their house, she began praying and experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit for the first time. From that evening forward, she spent the rest of her life devoted to Jesus and bringing others closer to Him.
Helen’s father bought their first radio, and they passed the evenings listening to WRII News out of Little Rock during WWII. Helen and her family knew many young boys from Fifty Six and Mountain View that enlisted in the service. She often talked about the many boys standing in line to board the train. Later in life, Helen visited the USS Arizona where she read the name of one classmate who perished at Pearl Harbor. She made frequent visits back to Fifty Six and Mountain View for reunions and other special occasions. Helen regularly spoke about the wonderful years she lived in Arkansas.
Shortly after moving back to South Dakota, the Wells family visited relatives who lived south of the Marty Ranch. It just so happened Helen and her sister Maxine were introduced to two young men who would later become their husbands, John and Bill Marty.
After her brief introduction to John, Helen moved to Seattle and worked at the Tacoma Navy Base. It wasn’t long before John drove to Seattle to ask for her hand in marriage. On May 14, 1946, John and Helen were united in marriage at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle. Her Aunt Mildred and Uncle Clyde stood up as attendants, and 50 people attended the celebration.
Helen spent 60 years on the ranch, and in 2006 she moved from the prairies of Harding County to live with her youngest daughter and family on the prairies of the Pine Ridge Reservation. She continued to do what she did best; showing her love through food, fellowship, and her unbinding love for God. She continued the tradition of growing big gardens, raising chickens, and doing all the household chores. During this time, she had a special friend in her dog Minnie, who never left her side. Every Sunday, Helen drove 30 miles to Interior for church where she made new, cherished friendships.
In 2012, Helen moved to Spearfish to be closer to friends, particularly Rosie Seymour. They were neighbors for the next six years, along with many other pioneer women who all came from similar backgrounds. Over the years, several more neighbors from her time on the ranch also retired to Spearfish.
Helen was baptized, confirmed and a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church at Zeona, a member of VFW auxiliary, Hand and Hands Extension Club, and LCW of Zeona.
With her children by her side, Helen was called home to heaven on July 5, 2018. She is survived by her son, John “Sam” (Leah) Marty of Prairie City, SD; daughters, Mary Lou Marty of Mesa, AZ and Elizabeth (Avery) May of Kyle, SD; grandchildren, John E. (Amy) Lee of Spearfish, SD; Stephen (Tacia) Lee of Belgrade, MT; Nicole Kolander of Champlin, MN; Samantha (Darin) Marty Sandberg of Blaine, MN; Lindsey Marty of Rapid City, SD; Bud May of Kyle, SD; and Mary Jo (Jason) Fairhead of Martin, SD; eight great-grandchildren, Naomi Lee; Connor Kolander; Graycen Lee; Emmett, Ellie, and Oliva Sandberg; Josephine and Madelyn Fairhead; great-niece, Melissa Marty; nephews, Jesse Marty; Jerry Wells; and Tom Blair; nieces, Ruth Ann Sprague; Doris Matz; and Grace Blair; and son-in law, John H. Lee.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Anna Wells; brother, Errol Wells; sister, Maxine Marty; and husband, John Marty.
A memorial has been established to Immanuel Lutheran Church of Zeona, SD.