Helga Gilbert: 1922-2012

Helga Gilbert, 90, died Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, at the Belle Fourche Health Care Center.

Helga Ingrid Davidson was born Jan. 28, 1922, to Hans and Dina (Naverness) Davidson on their homestead seven miles southwest of Buffalo, SD. Helga and her sister Dagny Davidson Burt were active on the ranch with their parents. As both parents emigrated from Norway, the girls spoke Norwegian at home until they both attended the Anderson country school, where they learned to speak English. Helga then attended high school in Buffalo. She boarded with the Glendenings, Carl Cornell’s and Vic Schwartz families and she worked part-time. After graduation from Buffalo High School in 1938, she attended Business College in Rapid City for two years. Helga continued to help her mother manage the family ranch while working for Wynn Bennett, Attorney at Law, until 1941. Helga then worked in the Harding County Treasurer’s office and Auditor’s office until she was married.

On May 15, 1948, Helga was united in marriage to Lloyd Gilbert in Belle Fourche, SD. To this union, two children were born: Ray Edward and Helen Marie. Lloyd and Helga ranched together on the Gilbert Angus Ranch until his sudden death in 1962. Helga continued to manage the ranch with the help of her children and stayed involved in community activities. She served as Harding County School District clerk from 1969 to 1975. She was a Worthy Matron in the Grand River Chapter 162 Order of the Eastern Star.

In 1973, Helga moved to a new home in Buffalo, after her son Ray and his family took over the management of the ranch. She stayed busy during her retirement years by working at the Nation Center News and the Harding County Treasurer’s office. Helga always enjoyed playing cards with her friends, gardening, bowling, hunting and checking on the ranch activities. Traveling with her daughter Helen was also a wonderful pastime and they enjoyed many bowling tournaments together. She was especially fond of following her grandchildren, Andrea, Lloyd and Colt, during their many activities in high school and college. Helga was an inspiration of strength and tenacity to her entire family and friends. In 2005 she moved into the Edgewood Vista Assisted Living Center in Spearfish, after breaking her hip. She resided there until 2010 when she moved to the Belle Fourche Health Care Center.

Helga is survived by her son, Ray (Linda) Gilbert of Buffalo, SD; daughter, Helen (Rick) Van Dewerker of Spearfish and Surprise, AZ; three grandchildren, Andrea Gilbert of Buffalo, WY, Lloyd (Patty) Gilbert of Buffalo, SD, and Colt Van Dewerker of AZ; two great-grandchildren, Sawyer and Grey Gilbert of Buffalo, SD; niece, Diana (Chuck) Davis of Buffalo, SD; and numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Lloyd in 1962; sister, Dagny Burt; two infant brothers; and an infant sister.