Helen A. Wilkins died peacefully at her Kamiah home Thursday, September 16, 2021.
Helen was born March 22, 1930 in Kamiah, Idaho to Hastings and Buelah (Price) Brown. To keep up with her big brothers and the Simmons boys, she started school early and graduated from KHS in 1947. She earned a BA in elementary education with a minor in literature at the University of Idaho and completed her student teaching at Russell School in Moscow.
Helen married her lifelong sweetheart, Emmett Wilkins on December 22, 1950, a partnership that would last 65 years. They spent the early years of their marriage between the farm on Winona and the University. Helen and Emmett had five children: Shirley, Tomas, Mariann, Patty, and Bryan.
Helen supported the family businesses beginning on the farm and then later when Emmett purchased Ida-Lew Construction. Surviving twenty years of parenting teenagers, she then served as Kamiah grade school librarian and later in special services, fulfilling her special calling of teaching children.
Helen’s community contributions were extensive. She was a driving force in creating a community library in Kamiah, volunteered as librarian, and served the library board and district for many years. Helen and friends organized the community dinner theatre for many years as a fundraiser for the library and partnered with Jaycees and Jayceettes to support the library as well. Other notable contributions included her service on the mental health board and as Idaho State Jayceette President. Helen earned the distinction of Deacon Emeritus from the Presbyterian Church. She led with strength, kindness, humor, humility, integrity, and class.
The greatest joy in her life were the babies and kiddos that she cuddled, played with, and read to. She was amused by their mischief, and they filled her with unabashed pride. Helen enjoyed a good competitive card game and playing a snappy boogie-woogie tune on the piano. She was an insightful mentor to her adult children and many friends who sought her wisdom. Helen demonstrated her love by feeding people she cared about delicious food and could magically set another plate or four to welcome an impromptu gathering. Emmett and Helen were adventurous and enjoyed camping, snowmobiling, and traveling. Emmett and Helen built a family cabin on the Lochsa for Helen’s mother and stepfather, Buelah and Dr. C. H. Bryan. The family place on Lottie Creek and the memories of times spent there is cherished gift that Emmett and Helen have created for their family.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband Emmett; her parents Hastings and Buelah and stepfather Dr. C. H. Bryan; and her brothers Don, Fred, and Dickie Brown.
Helen is survived by her daughters Shirley (Dean) Roach, Mariann Wilkins, Patty (Wes) Carscallen; and sons Tom (Marty) Wilkins, Bryan (Kris) Wilkins; 10 grandchildren, Christopher, Ben, and Riley Wilkins; Kevin and Craig Roach; Parker Leigh; Emma and Sarah Carscallen; Kati and Jack Wilkins; 21 great-grandchildren; 4 great great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will plan a celebration to honor Helen when it is safe to gather. Condolences for the family can be sent to PO BOX 875 Kamiah or left at the Facebook group: In Memory of Helen Wilkins. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Kamiah branch of the Prairie River Library District, PO BOX 846, Kamiah, 83536.