Helen Dunham, age 92, of Valley City, ND, died Tuesday, August 5th at Mercy Hospital in Valley City. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, August 9th at 1:00 PM at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Valley City. Visitation will be held one hour before the service at the church on Saturday afternoon. Interment will be in Hillside Cemetery near Valley City.
Helen was born April 3, 1922, in Minneapolis, the fourth of thirteen children to Andrew and Mary Skovran. She graduated from Minneapolis Vocational High School. During World War II, she worked at Fort Snelling, MN, and then at the Air Corps base in Rapid City, where she met her future husband, John Dunham. But she first transferred to Washington, D.C. to work for the State Department and then was sent – after an extensive background check that even led back to a grocer she worked for as a young girl in St. Anthony Village, near Minneapolis – to Manila, the Philippines where she was one of the first two women sent before the end of the war. She returned to the United States in March, 1946, and married John on June 15th of the same year. They had five sons. Helen was a devoted, full-time homemaker. When all her boys were in school, she learned income tax preparation while working at the William Paulson law firm in Valley City. Following closure of the firm upon Judge Paulson’s move to the North Dakota Supreme Court, Helen opened her own income tax preparation business, which she continued into her late 70’s. She regularly attended tax preparation training sessions to keep her skills strong. Helen’s many faithful clients trusted her fair and thorough approach.
Helen loved to dance and in 1983 at the age of 61 she performed with the can-can dancers for the Valley City centennial celebration. She also loved to play cards and was an astute Bridge player. Her grandchildren have fond memories of playing card games with Grandma.
Helen loved to cook and bake and blessed many friends and family members with her tea-rings, pies, and perogies. She also loved flowers and enjoyed making arrangements and giving them away. Helen was a servant at heart and as she aged and couldn’t do for others as she once did, we all felt that loss – but she most of all.
Helen is survived by her five sons: Phil (Vicki) of Great Falls, MT; David of Valley City; Paul (Roberta) of Yuba City, CA; Jim (Nancy) of Great Falls; and Tom (Jean) of Grand Forks, ND. She is also survived by seventeen grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and seven siblings.