Cover photo for Helen Ann Fridgen's Obituary
Helen Ann Fridgen Profile Photo

Helen Ann Fridgen

July 31, 1927 — November 23, 2023

Wheaton, MN

Helen Ann Fridgen

Helen Ann Mundy Fridgen was born on July 31,1927 in Wheaton, MN.  She was the daughter of Anna Kajsa Alfrida Anderson Mundy and Dewey Portland Mundy. She was a younger sister to her brother Deane.  

Helen Ann was baptized on September 18, 1927 at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in Wheaton, MN. Her sponsors were Carl and Agnes Anderson. Helen Ann was also confirmed at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church on June 7th, 1942. She was a lifelong member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

She attended Wheaton Public Schools and graduated in 1945. Involvement of the fine arts was important to Helen Ann. She participated in instrumental band, choir, and drama. She was a percussionist and drum majorette in the high school band, sang alto in the high school choir and in small group vocal ensembles. She was part of a mixed girls trio that sang in the Wheaton area churches during her high school years. Helen Ann also participated in plays and musicals.  In the Wheaton Community Drum & Bugle Corps Helen Ann was a snare drum percussionist.

Helen Ann was also part of the girls basketball team in high school. During those years, the girls teams only played half-court basketball games.  

After high school graduation, Helen Ann attended Gustavus Adolphus College for one year.  During her next summer she supported the WWII war effort in Rockford, IL as clerical support for military service men and women processing their discharge papers. After her work in IL, she returned to Wheaton where she was employed at Swift Electric Company. She was an accounting and payroll processing clerk. Helen Ann enjoyed her work typing legal contracts for electricians who were expanding the electric grid for rural Wheaton and surrounding areas.  

Helen Ann met her future husband, Joe Fridgen, at a dance in Wheaton. They both loved music and dancing. They attended dances at the Traverse Fairground Pavilion, Dumont Town Hall, Graceville High School Gymnasium, Browns Valley Coliseum, and Sioux Historic in Ortonville. Their friendship and courtship blossomed even with the interruption of Joe enlisting in the Marine Corps during WWII. After Joe returned from his military service, they continued dating, and were married on September 25,1948 in Dumont, MN. Helen Ann and Joe were married for 65 years. They rented a farm home for one year, and then moved to the Fridgen family farm in 1949. With this union they had 5 children: Joe, Rene’, Mark, Blair, and Steve.  

Volunteerism, community service, and church involvement were important to Helen Ann. She was a participating member of the Dumont Ralph-Leslie American Legion Auxiliary, and later Wheaton Merton-Dale American Legion Auxiliary.  In 2023, she received recognition for 75 years of continuous membership. As a young active Auxiliary Unit, they supported community programs through concession sales on Sundays at the “Popcorn Stand'' at Dumont town baseball games, Memorial Day programs, and supporting various local, state and national veterans’ programs. She was part of a vocal trio that sang at various Legion/Auxiliary programs.  

Helen Ann was a passionate supporter of her children’s school and extracurricular activities/interests. She volunteered at their schools.

Helen Ann was an advocate for her community. When the Wheaton area community pool was created she approached community leaders to find a way to provide bus transportation to the Dumont area rural families to attend and participate in youth swimming lessons.  

Helen Ann was civic minded and liked to participate in community events. Helen Ann was a Traverse County Census Taker in 1980. She was also a Wheaton community election judge for many years.  

Helen Ann’s faith and church involvement was very important to her.  She was a member of the Church Circle, WELCA, and served as an officer. Being a part of the church choir was fulfilling and brought her great joy.  She was a soloist who enjoyed singing for church events. At a young age, she gained confidence through her mother to enjoy the passion of singing and expressing her faith through her love of music. She joined the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Choir and volunteered as a member of the sing- a-long group at Traverse Care Center.  She started singing in the volunteer group when her Dad, Dewey Mundy, was a Traverse Care Center resident. Giving back through her love of music was important to Helen Ann.

In 1993, Helen Ann and Joe moved from their farm to Wheaton, which we all know as the “Red Mundy House.” They moved to her most recent home in Wheaton in 2012. Helen Ann and Joe enjoyed entertaining family and friends in their new home.

Helen Ann was a proud mother and homemaker.  Helen Ann was supportive of her children’s education and extracurricular activities. She enjoyed baking and cooking for her family and friends.  Setting another mealtime plate, providing field lunches, or offering a cup of coffee for visitors were just examples of her sense of hospitality and kindness. 

Family gatherings at home and at the lake were very meaningful to Helen Ann.  Holiday traditions of hosting family meals was very special for Helen Ann and Joe. Christmas get-togethers at Falk Park was a special family time of joy and laughter.  Helen Ann enjoyed spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Over the last eight years, Helen Ann enjoyed the special support and love of her youngest – Steve. They traveled as far as time and health would allow, they tasted the foods and wines that the region had to offer and let no big event slip by. As noted by Helen Ann, “when Steve and I go to concerts and events, we get front row seats using my wheelchair.”  Whether it was Elton John, Kenny G, Michelle Obama, a basketball games or visiting a Senator in DC, they did not miss much. And, Steve was there for the tough times - illnesses and hospitals - he was the rock - the support for all that she aspired for and enjoyed each day. 

Devoted caregiver and dear friend, Dawn Julson was regularly by Helen Ann’s side through her later years.  Dawn regularly brought Helen Ann smiles and a positive attitude along with her care.  Finding the “best outfit” for the occasion and scouring the shops for a fine purchase, they loved their time together.  When Dawn was with Helen Ann, Dawn made house events, the shopping, and the day-to-day living - the good days and the tougher ones, better and joyous.  Helen Ann cherished this special supportive and loving relationship as did Helen Ann’s entire family.

Helen Ann passed away on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2023 at the Traverse Care Center at the age of 96.

Helen Ann is survived by a large family to include her five children: Joseph D. “Joe” (Cynthia) Fridgen of Williamsburg, VA and children Joseph D.(Linh) Fridgen, Craig (Mary) Joseph and Paige (Norman) Jacobs; daughter Rene’ (Don) Krumwiede of Alexandria, MN and children Chad (Nicki) Krumwiede and Andrea (Mike) Pierson; son Mark Fridgen (friend Roxanne Martin) Dumont, MN, (ex-wife Carla Bigalke) and children Stacy (Ryan) Marts, Travis (Crystal) Fridgen, Cory (Bonnie) Fridgen, Leah (Jason) Fridgen-Kuss, Katie (Joe) Gall; son Blair Fridgen (friend Rebecca Booth) Scarborough, ME and children Riley (friend Mallory Patton) Fridgen, Jack Fridgen; son and caregiver extraordinaire Steve Fridgen, Wheaton, MN; and Helen Ann’s dear friend and caregiver Dawn Julson, Wheaton, MN, 12 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren. In addition, she is survived by numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband Joe of 65 years in 2014, her parents Dewey and Alfrida Mundy, brother Deane Mundy, father and mother-in-law Joseph J. and Orlie (Roth) Fridgen, sisters-in-law:  Evelyn (Fabian) Lewis, Genevieve (Alvin) Hennen, Idelle Fridgen, and brother-in-law Gene (Opal) Fridgen, and daughter-in-law Pam Hudson-Fridgen.

Funeral Services will be held Thursday, November 30th, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wheaton, MN with Rev. Cheryl Berg officiating. Visitation will be held Wednesday, November 29th from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. Prayer Service and Time of Sharing. Visitation will continue Thursday morning one hour prior to service time at the church. Interment will be in Wildwood Cemetery, Wheaton.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen Ann Fridgen, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

4:30 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Wheaton)

605 10th Street North, Wheaton, MN 56296

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Prayer Service

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Starts at 6:30 pm (Central time)

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Wheaton)

605 10th Street North, Wheaton, MN 56296

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Thursday, November 30, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Wheaton)

605 10th Street North, Wheaton, MN 56296

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Wheaton)

605 10th Street North, Wheaton, MN 56296

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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