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Helen Henrietta (Schwandt) Hawkinson

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Helen Henrietta (Schwandt) Hawkinson

May 03, 1923 - Aug. 13, 2014

Helen Henrietta (Schwandt) Hawkinson, 91, of Willmar died Wednesday, August 13, 2014, at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, MN, of natural causes. Her family was by her side as she peacefully passed on to be with her Lord Jesus Christ and her husband Harvey, who passed away June 28, 2014. Together forever. Her funeral service will be 2:00 pm, Tuesday at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar, with visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment is at Fairview Cemetery in Willmar. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar, www.hafh.org. Memorials are preferred to Bethel Lutheran Church Music Department.

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Helen Henrietta Hawkinson was born May 3, 1923, in Raymond, MN, to William and Florence (Stein) Schwandt. The family moved south of Willmar and she attended Dist. 57 schools and later the Willmar Public Schools. She was in the Golden Rod 4-H Club. She loved music and fishing! She started playing accordion and piano at a very young age. She later played guitar and harmonica. She was self-taught and could play any song by ear just by hearing it or someone requesting it. While working at the Litchfield Bakery she met a handsome young man by the name of Harvey Hawkinson. He would then go to KWLM Radio studio and listen to her play guitar and sing country and gospel music and yodel. Her stage name was, "Helen Heart, Sweet Singer of Sweet Songs"....and she was! On August 16, 1941, they were united in marriage at the Assembly of God Church in Willmar. Their 73rd Wedding Anniversary would have been August 16, 2014. The got to spend it together once again, reunited with the Lord. When Harvey enlisted in the Army Air Corp. they moved to Odgen, Utah. While Harvey was serving his country Helen was too! She drove the Jeeps for the Officers and 6x6 gravel trucks. When Harvey was discharged they moved back to Willmar and bought a farm on Point Lake North of Willmar. Helen worked at Central Dairy for 7 years. They had one son, Charles Walter Hawkinson and one daughter, Gayle Lavonne Hawkinson. Harvey worked as a civilian at the Air Force Base in Willmar. When the base closed they were transferred to Duluth to the Bomarc Missle Base at French River, where they built a new home. Helen worked at JCPenneys for 10 years at the Duluth Plaza, as the manager of the ladies wear department. When Harvey took an early retirement in 1972, they moved back to Willmar and built a new home at their Point Lake farm. Helen loved her flowers and garden but most all to fish! They went on several fishing and hunting trips and spent many years deer hunting with the family in the woods at Grass Lake. They spent many years of winter months in the Arizona desert, near Yuma, camping and rock hunting and she played her accordion at several gatherings in the desert and church. Helen played the accordion, guitar, piano, organ and harmonic and sang, all her life, at weddings, nursing homes, parades and several years with God's Hamm's and other groups. She played at Sibley State Park church services for 20 years. They took a trip to Israel that meant so much to both of them. Helen taught Sunday School for years. Her salvation and love for the Lord were strong and evident. She was baptized once as a child and again as an adult in 1939. The love she shared with Harvey was beyond measure and her love for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was always evident. She was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church since her marriage. She had a life well lived and the music in heaven is more amazing than ever!

Surviving are her son: Charles Hawkinson of Aitkin, MN; daughter, Gayle Hawkinson of Spicer; grandchildren: Lavonne, Angela, Tanya, Karey and Ben; great-grandchildren: Jesse, Joshua, Sierra, Macray and Jacynda. Also surviving are her brothers: Roswell Schwandt and Ellsworth (and Pearl) Schwandt.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Harvey, brother, Duane Schwandt.

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