Helen Elizabeth Anderson Shepherd returned to her Heavenly Father on October 19 th 2021 at the age of 101. She is the daughter of Mary Almira Mikkelson and Hyrum Demoine Anderson, and was born in her parents’ home in Ephraim, Utah, on September 21st, 1920.
Growing up in Ephraim she had fun playing along the creek banks, exploring the hills, climbing the cliffs near their home, swimming in the dammed-up creek and building “playhouses” in the bushes and yards of abandoned homes and farms. She and her friends enjoyed corn and potato roasts, and playing out at night under the stars. Her greatest love (aside from her family) was reading. She was an avid reader and would read two to three books a day if she could get away with it. Her dad would get mad at her for staying indoors all day reading and make her go outside. As soon as his back was turned, she would sneak back inside to read some more. Her biggest fear before her passing was losing her eyesight and not being able to read. She began working at age 14 at Sprouse Reitz. Then because of her experience she was hired by her uncle to work part time at Anderson Drug, working after school and on weekends, sometimes until 11:00 p.m. At that time, she was lucky to earn $1.00 a day.
She enjoyed attending all the school dances, and loved telling her children about the beautiful dresses and formals her mother sewed for her. She attended high school at Snow College., graduating in May 1938. She was one of the speakers at the graduation. She was introduced to LeEarl Shepherd by her sister Tessie when she was just 15 years old, and they began going steady when she was a junior. LeEarl proposed to her the night of her graduation. They were married on March 25, 1939, by Le Earl’s Uncle Andrew Peterson at his home in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. They were sealed in the Manti Temple on June 25, 1951. After their marriage they moved to Salt Lake City. After moving around for a time, they were finally able to buy their own home and buy their own furniture. Helen lived in this home for over 50 years.
Helen is the mother of five children: Katherine (Simon) Aardema; Mary (Carl) Alder; Sharon Shepherd; Virginia (Douglas) Bradley; and Gary (Colleen) Shepherd. Her greatest concern before her passing was wanting us to know that she had tried to be a good mother, which of course she was. While Katherine was still a baby, Helen began working part time at the New House Hotel as a check girl, a job she held for 14 years.
After settling into their new home, they became active in the First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Helen kept busy with church assignments serving as a Visiting Teacher, a Primary Teacher, Mutual Secretary, and in Relief Society as1st Counselor, 2nd Counselor and then as President. She also served as a BYU Stake Representative for 1½ years, and later as a Ward Missionary while living at Victoria Woods Senior Living Apartments. On Easter Sunday in 1968 LeEarl had a massive heart attack. It became apparent that he would no longer be able to work, so it became necessary for Helen to return to work. She worked at ZCMI as a receptionist first in the furniture department then in the Personnel Department. In order to improve her working skills, she attended school for a year studying shorthand, typing, dictaphone, business math and business English. This enabled her to get a better job working as a secretary at the BYU Salt Lake Center. After six years there, she began working for Deseret Book in the Wholesale Publication Department. This she really enjoyed; one of the perks of the job was being able to read many of the galley proofs of books before they were published. LeEarl passed away in 1981 at the age of 63. Helen remained a widow for over 40 years, which was very difficult. But she kept busy and continued to work finally retiring at age 64.
After retiring, she enjoyed traveling with some of her children and with her sister, Verna. Some of her favorite trips were a Fall Foliage Tour to New England, a Caribbean Cruise, a trip to Hawaii, and finally a Baltic Cruise. The old house became more than she, with the help of her family, could care for. So, she sold the house in 1999 and moved to the Victoria Woods Apartments. She lived there for over 20 years. When her health began failing Kathy and Virginia took turns having her stay with them. Finally, it became necessary to place her in a skilled nursing home, where she has lived for about the last four years.
Helen is survived by her daughters Katherine, Sharon and Virginia and son Gary. She was preceded in death by her husband LeEarl, her parents, her sisters Tessie, Verna, and Sara and brother Vern, daughter Mary, and two great-grandchildren. Her posterity includes 18 grandchildren, 57 great-grandchildren, and numerous great-great-grandchildren. She loved having hot cocoa every morning—we hope they have that in Heaven. She never failed to tell us she loved us. We will miss you!! We’ll see you again someday. Love you Mom!
We will miss you!! We’ll see you again someday. Love you Mom
Graveside Service will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021, at 1:00 PM located at the Ephriam City Cemetery.
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