Obituary for Helen Leone (Sauer) Campbell
July 24, 1925 – November 5, 2020
Helen Leone Campbell, 95, of Sparks, passed away peacefully at the home of her daughter Rene on November 5, 2020. She had resided there for the past 7 years. She was preceded in death by her parents ; brothers Al, Arnold, Bob, Paul, Leonard and George and baby sister Agnes along with her husband Larry.
Helen was born July 24, 1925 in Sherwood, North Dakota on a farm to Mathias Nickolas Sauer and Stella Mary (Chapdelaine) Sauer. In the 1930’s, the dust bowl and great depression forced the family to leave their farm for the greener pastures of California. Her mom and dad bought a 200 acre farm in Sweetland outside of Nevada City on Hwy 49. Helen attended Sweetland Elementary School and graduated from Nevada City High School in 1943. She then went on to attend Mount Saint Mary’s Business School in Grass Valley.
Her education led her to work for attorney Jessie Fluharty in Sacramento. These were the war years—rationings, military dances and victory gardens. Helen made lifelong friends and would attend yearly reunions and travel with her girlfriends throughout her life. It was after the war in 1949 that she met her future husband Larry. He had just gotten out of the Navy having spent 6 years in the fleet. They were married April 16, 1950 at Saint John’s Church, North San Juan, California. She was a Christian.
Eventually they settled in a home on Lincoln Way in Sparks where they raised 3 children, numerous cats, dogs, hamsters, a rabbit, and a menagerie of other pets. Her love of cats started as a child and continued throughout her life. Helen had a kind heart and could not turn her back on a stray animal or friend. There was always an extra person at the dinner table or living with the family for months or even years. She was an excellent cook and known throughout the neighborhood for her baked cookies, cakes and pies. Everyone was welcome in her home. During these years she worked for the city of Reno and Sparks doing clerical work. She was a talented seamstress who could sew her own suits for work as well as her children’s clothing for school. She was a devoted mother. Wherever she lived she always had a beautiful flower garden. Her iris won many blue ribbons in numerous competitions. Her home always had bouquets of fresh flowers from her garden.
In 1970 the family moved to a larger home on East Gault Way in Sparks. During this time she worked for UNR’s College of Business for Dr. Zane and Dr. Ansari in the Managerial Science Dept. She loved interacting with the students and seeing them succeed. Education was very important to her. Both of her daughters attended UNR at this time so it was an exciting time for all of them to be together.
When she retired she divided her time between Sparks and British Columbia Canada where she and her husband had a log cabin on the Adam’s River. She was a loyal, loving wife and caregiver to her husband Larry (who passed away of lung cancer in 2003). She was a wonderful grandmother to her two grandchildren, who lived in Chetwynd, British Columbia. She showered them with love and suitcases filled with clothes and toys when she came for a visit. She spent most of her time in Sparks with her daughter Rene who taught at Reed High School. They’d spend time together shopping, going to lunch, taking classes and just hanging out enjoying each other’s company. They saw each other every day. As Helen grew older and needed more help Rene cared for her just as she had once taken care of her as a child.
Eventually Helen sold her home and moved into Rene’s home in Spanish Springs. Helen was still active doing hand embroidery, flower arranging and going out with Rene’s friends. Helen loved Rene’s partner Larry Martin. He’d barbeque her favorite meals and surprise her with ice cream treats in the evening. In May 2020 Helen had surgery for a DVT in her leg. Unfortunately, she continued to have blood clotting problems. Kindred Hospice compassionately cared for Helen during the last few months of her life. A special thank you goes to Kindred CNA Shirley Musselman whose wisdom lovingly guided all of us through Helen’s final journey on earth. Helen is survived by her daughter Rene (Larry) and cat Billy of Sparks as well as daughter Dianne Herman and grandchildren Vanessa and Rory Herman of British Columbia, Canada. She is also survived by a son Michael Campbell. Helen has a large extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins in California, Washington and North Dakota. She will be missed by all. Due to the Covid pandemic a celebration of her life will occur in the summer of 2021 after everyone is vaccinated.
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