Helen Maurine Taylor Wilson


(Oct. 26, 2004)

Helen Maurine Taylor Wilson died Tuesday, Oct. 26 at the Powell Hospital following a brief illness. She was 101.

She was born Helen Maurine Taylor on May 3, 1903, to Noland and Elizabeth (Shouse) Taylor in Nelson, Mo. She graduated from high school and began teaching in rural schools around Nelson. She took "normal training" (teacher preparation courses) at Central Missouri State Teachers College (Warrensburg, Mo.) and at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. In the late 1920s she traveled west to accept a teaching position in a rural school outside of Broadus, Mont. In 1929, she moved to Wheatland where she taught two years in Wyoming rural schools. She taught first through eighth grades, built the fire to heat up the school, and cleaned the school - all for $35 per month.

Helen met Carl B. "Cap" Wilson in Wheatland and they were married May 17, 1931. The marriage ended her teaching career as married women were not allowed to teach at that time.

Cap and Helen lived on the O-O ranch west of Wheatland where they ranched with Cap's brother, Dick Wilson. Later, they bought the H.T. Fish farm northwest of Wheatland. In 1943, their only child, Charlotte, was born. They lived on the farm until 1982 when they moved to Powell to be closer to their daughter.

Helen cooked for haying crews, sheep shearers and other hired help. She was famous for her "from scratch" four-inch angel food cakes and lemon meringue pies. She always had food to share and was a gracious hostess. She enjoyed gardening and raising flowers. Until recently, Helen had a keen interest in politics and current events. She voted in the 1924 election (the first time she could vote since women had been given the right to vote) and voted in every election since then. Helen took great pride in her ability to speak and write the English language well. She greeted people with a smile and was careful about her appearance. She had a great sense of humor. When asked on her 100th birthday if she had any advice for living a long, successful life, she said: "Do your very best, and keep in good shape, they way you should. Keep working as long as you can at something."

Helen and Cap celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1981. Cap died in 1985 and Helen continued to live at Cactus Garden Trailer Court until 1995 when she experienced some health problems and moved to the Powell Valley Care Center. She enjoyed the activities provided for the residents and was appreciative of the excellent care given by the staff. She celebrated her 100th and 101st birthdays with many friends and family members. Those celebrations provided wonderful memories of a life lived fully and well.

Helen was a member of the Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church. She attended Union Presbyterian Church in Powell with her daughter and family.

Survivors include her daughter Charlotte (Hunter) Patrick of Powell; grandchildren Michael (Paulette) Patrick of Billings, Mont., and Colleen Patrick of Indianapolis, Ind.; great-grandchildren Eagan Phillips and Lela Phillips of Billings; a sister, Mattie Griffis of Norman, Okla.; a niece Patricia (Louis) Theil of Marshall, Mo., and a nephew Louis (Molly) Griffis of Norman, Okla.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Marion, Clarence and Claude; and sister Rowena.

Cremation has taken place and private family services will be held at a later time. Miratsky Funeral home is in charge of arrangements. Inurement will be in the family plot at the Nelson, Mo. cemetery. If one wishes to honor Helen's life, please share a smile, share a kind work or deed, bake something and share it, use the English language correctly, and keep a sense of humor. Memorials may be made to the Powell Valley Care Center Activities Fund, 999 Ave. G, Powell WY 82435 or to the charity of one's choice.