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Obituary - Helen Louise (Flatness) Kallenberger


Helen Kallenberger

Helen Louise (Flatness) Kallenberger of South Havre, 102, died of natural causes Wednesday, May 9, surrounded by family at the Care & Comfort Home in Havre.

Helen was the third of five children born to Norwegian immigrants Halvor and Louisa Flatness Dec. 5, 1915, in Box Elder, Montana.  

Her parents homesteaded on the North Slope of Centennial mountain of the Bear Paw Mountains. They worked hard building their ranch raising livestock, operating a coal mine teaching their children the value of hard work and a good education. Helen rode horseback to country school and even rode her horse 10 miles one way to confirmation classes at the Faith Lutheran Church in Box Elder. For fun she enjoyed riding horseback all over the country with her siblings and their cousins who lived nearby. Helen was given the nickname "Hank," as in "Hank the Hired Hand," completing many challenging tasks. She graduated from Box Elder High where she participated in track and basketball. She played on the undefeated girls basketball team that won a championship in 1934.

After graduation, Helen went on to the Moler Beauty School in Spokane, Washington, receiving her diploma in 1938. There she met Ray Kallenberger who was attending Moler Barber School. They were married Feb. 11, 1940, in Spokane. After being a beauty school instructor and Ray owning a barber shop, they decided to move back to the Havre area where they began ranching in the Bear Paws in 1946, raising cattle, sheep and a family of five.  

Things were never boring on the ranch. Helen loved working outdoors in the hayfield and working with the livestock. She certainly understood horses and cattle and it was a joy to watch her work around them. One of the first things she taught her kids was how to tie a bowline knot, so they would not choke their animals. Her relaxation was gardening, growing beautiful flowers, raising chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese, fishing for Brook trout on the ranch, saddling her horse (giving him a good feed of oats), then riding off to the summer pastures to check on the cattle. One time she had to bring in the saddle horses amongst a stallion and he tried to chase her horse. She had her homemade barbed wire whip with her and corralled him without incident. After working hard outside all day, she managed to have a delicious meal on the table.

Helen was an active member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Rocky Boy, was a 4-H leader for many years (being honored during the 100-year celebration), and a member of the North Central MT Cowbelles (Montana Cattlewomen's Organization). She was a great seamstress, sewing for the family and even made one of her daughters a wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses for the attendants. Many nights were spent at the piano and singing. Mom encouraged her children to take music lessons. She enjoyed listening to her daughter and five grandchildren playing in country dance bands and band concerts.

One of the highlights of her life was a trip to Scandinavia with relatives to visit where her parents were born. She was proud of her Norwegian heritage. She continued with the traditional Flatness Family Picnic which her parents started in the 1940's and the tradition continues each summer. After her husband Ray's death in 1997, she remained on the ranch for over 11 years with her beloved dogs, Bunny and Badger, for constant company. In 2008 after health issues, she began to live with her daughters Linda, Gail and Judy until she moved to the Care & Comfort Home in September 2015. The family appreciates the good care she received while at the Care & Comfort Home.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Halvor and Louisa Flatness, sisters Annabelle Schend Salfer, Margaret Clayborn Golie, brother Conrad (Melba) Flatness, infant brother John, son-in-law Dave Nystrom, and husband Ray.

Helen Kallenberger

Survivors include daughters, Sharlene (Dale) Molyneaux of Billings, and Linda (Connie) Cox, Gail (Ted) Solomon, and Judy (Larry) Kinsella, all of Havre; son Raymond (Debbie) Kallenberger of Havre; grandchildren, Dusty (Holly) Molyneaux, Keith (Erin) Molyneaux, Jerry (Ashlie) Nystrom, Shawn (Heidi) Nystrom, Chancin (Casey) Solomon, Denali (Cory) Brothers, Jolene (Travis) Liddle, Crystal Kinsella, Dan (Aubrie) Kallenberger, Justin (Bridget) Kallenberger, Doug (Emily) Kallenberger and Craig (Lexy) Kallenberger; 28 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held from 4 until 6 p.m. Thursday, May 17, 2018, at Holland & Bonine Funeral Chapel. Funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Friday, May 18, 2018, at First Lutheran Church. Burial will follow in Highland Cemetery.

Helen's family has suggested donations be made in her name to the Kallenberger Girls, c/o Bear Paw Credit Union, 201 Second Street, Havre, MT 59501, or to the Hill County 4-H Foundation, 315 Fourth St., Havre, MT 59501.

Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements.

Please visit Helen's online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for her family at http://www.hollandbonine.com.


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