Helen Marilyn (Bidne) Hendrickson, 86, passed away Thursday, March 22, 2018, at her home in Decorah.
She was born March 6, 1932, at Smith Memorial Hospital in Decorah to Knut and Selma Marie Bidne. Helen grew up on the Bidne farm east of Highlandville and graduated from Decorah High School in 1951. After high school she attended Luther, where she sang and toured with the Nordic Choir. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from Luther College in 1954. She worked as an English teacher for the Decorah Public Schools for 26 years.
Helen married Jack Hendrickson on July 17, 1954, at Big Canoe Lutheran Church. They were happily married for over 40 years. She was a founding member of both the Decorah Chorale and Northern Lights Women's Chorus. Helen was a member of the Luther College Women's Club, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Decorah Retired School Personnel. She was a lifelong member of Big Canoe Lutheran Church, where she sang with the choir and was active in American Lutheran Church Women (ALCW) and Priscilla Circle Bible study.
She enjoyed playing bridge, gardening, water aerobics and baking. Most of Decorah recognized her distinct Voss bunad that she wore for a variety of events, including the Nordic Fest Opening Ceremonies, the Bunad Show and many activities at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. She was the "Chief Lutefisk Chef" for the Big Canoe Lutheran Church Lutefisk Supper for 46 years, where she prepared and served over 23,000 pounds of lutefisk. For her dedication to Nordic culture in Decorah, she was named the Nordic Fest Flag Recipient in 2011.
She is survived by her children, Mark (Judy) Hendrickson of Champaign, Ill., Eric (Mary Ann) Hendrickson of Iowa City and Joel (Kim) Hendrickson of Marion; grandchildren, Tracey (Ryan) Jackson of Naperville, Tyler Hendrickson of Iowa City, Bryan Hendrickson of Cedar Falls and Kara Hendrickson of San Diego, Calif.; stepgrandchildren, Jennifer (Josh) Brogley of Cedar Rapids and Jackie Matsunaga of Ames; great-grandchildren, Rogan and Reid Jackson; and stepgreat-grandchildren, Evan and Bella Brogley.
She was preceded by her parents; brother, George Bidne; husband; and sister, Violet Bidne Schlaufman.
There will be a private family burial service at Phelps Cemetery in Decorah. The family will greet friends and relatives before and after a celebration of life service on Saturday, April 28, at Big Canoe Lutheran Church, 1385 Big Canoe Rd., Decorah, IA 52101.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Big Canoe Lutheran Church.
Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at www.fjelstul.com.