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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Helen E. Rhode

Helen E. Rhode, 88, passed away unexpectedly early Wednesday, Sept. 18 at her Menominee home.

Born in Knapp on Aug. 11, 1925 to the late Mathilda Helen (Marten) Kidrick and James Robert Kidrick, she graduated from Tomah High School in 1943 and attended a post-secondary program in La Crosse. During World War II, she worked as an airplane mechanic for Columbia Aircraft in Oregon and Boeing in Washington and later became a telephone operator/supervisor working in several locations in Wisconsin including Tomah, Stevens Point, Hustisford, Mauston, and Janesville, and Mountain Home, Id. and Flagstaff, Ariz.

In 1952 she married George A. Ballard jr., in Idaho (and were later divorced) and returned to Wisconsin where their daughter, Susan Ann was born. On Feb. 4, 1961, she married Florian “Sonny” Rhode In Janesville and their daughter, Patricia was born in New Berlin where they made their home for four years along with Susan Ann and Sonny's four children Michael, Roger, Susan Kay and Mark. She was a homemaker and Sunday School teacher at the Methodist Church.

In 1965 the couple purchased a seasonal fishing resort in Baudette, MN. where she managed operations including a restaurant, bar, housekeeping, and office. In 1968 they sold the resort and moved to Black River Falls where she was a Campfire Girl Troop leader and operated H.E.R. Tax Service. They then moved to Menominee in 1975 and operated a Sports Shop in Peshtigo. She enjoyed spending time with family, reading, traveling, and going to the casino. She loved to dance and do the “Kidrick shuffle.” She appreciated nature, walking on the beach, observing wildlife in the woods, bird watching, was kind to animals and taught that value to her children and grandchildren. She was very health conscious and educated herself in matters of nutrition and health management and stressed the value of education through earning degrees through travel and experience to her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed time spent with grandchildren and great-grandchildren and companionship of her adopted Kitty.

She was preceded in death by husband Florian; a son in law, Richard Briar and nine siblings.

She is survived by three daughters, Susan Ballard, Susan (Bobby John) Brueggeman and Patricia Briar (Neal Tuma); three sons, Michael (Nancy), Roger (Mary) and Mark Rhode; a sister, Maxine (Garland) Bernhardt; two brothers, Ralph (Bobbe) Kidrick and Gordon (Leila) Kidrick; nine grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Family and friends called at Anderson Kell Funeral Home on Tuesday, Sept. 24 from 1 p.m. until time of service at 3 p.m. with Rev. Mark Johnson officiating. Burial immediately followed in Glenwood Memorial Gardens.


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