Former Libby resident Helen V. Vickers, 81, of Helena, died at her home on Monday, Jan. 24, 2005.
Born on Oct. 9, 1923, at Butte, the only child of Marguerite Winslow Vanderbeck and James H. Vanderbeck of Virginia City, Helen was a direct descendent of two of Montana¹s earliest pioneer families.
She grew up and attended school in Virginia City.
During World War II she attended nursing school in Salt Lake City and later earned a degree in sociology from the University of Southern California.
After the war Helen married childhood sweetheart John R. Vickers in Virginia City.
They moved to Missoula where John earned a degree in pharmacy from the University of Montana.
After John graduated, the couple returned to Virginia City where Helen taught school and John worked as pharmacist and postmaster.
Through the years they raised four children.
In 1955, the family moved to Berkeley, Calif., where Helen taught elementary school while John studied for the priesthood.
In 1958, the family moved to Libby, where Helen began a lifelong commitment of service to the Episcopal Diocese of Montana, and John served as priest for mission churches at Libby, Troy and Eureka, where they made lifelong friends.
In 1967, the family moved back to Madison County, where Helen continued to work and grow as a counselor and spiritual leader within the diocese and John served as mission priest to Episcopal churches at Sheridan, Virginia City and Jeffers.
In 1977, with her husband forced into retirement by a debilitating disease, Helen moved the family to Helena and founded an Episcopal retreat center known as ³His Place.²
His Place became the venue for countless Christian conferences, retreats and study and counseling sessions.
After 26 years of operating His Place, and at the age of 80, Helen retired last year.
A lifelong student with a healthy intellectual curiosity, Helen also was an avid world traveler. Her travels took her to the Caribbean, Central America, Japan, Russia and on numerous trips throughout Europe.
She also managed annual visits with friends at Eureka, Libby and Troy.
Preceded in death by her parents, her husband John and daughter Jamie Turner, Helen is survived and will be greatly missed by her son and daughter-in-law John and Cathy Vickers, Hillsboro, Ore.; daughter and son-in-law Jo and Geoff Guinn, Radersburg; son Murray Vickers, Polson; son-in-law Stephen Turner, Helena, and grandchildren Hilary and Michael Turner, Helena, Paul Vickers, Hillsboro, Barry and Angie Mitchell, Butte, and Alek Guinn in Florida.
A memorial service will be conducted at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29, at St. Peter¹s Episcopal Cathedral in Helena, followed by a reception.
The family requests that memorials be made to Hospice of St. Peter¹s, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601.
When Helen retired last year she received a commendation, signed by the bishop, that summed up her career. It read, in part:
³In recognition of your faithful service for nearly half a century to the people of God in the diocese of Montana, as the devoted wife of John, priest, as spiritual leader and guide, as provider of gracious hospitality to thousands at His Place, as friend, companion and counselor, as faithful participant and leader in the sacramental life, and as an example to all of the Christ life, we extend to you our deep and grateful appreciation on behalf of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Montana.²