Helen Harter

JEFFERSON — Helen L. Harter, 89, of Jefferson, passed away on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, at Fairhaven Senior Living of Whitewater.

Helen Louise Harter lived a full life of 89 years as a nurse, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and dear friend.

She was born on Oct. 1, 1929, in LaGrange, to parents Harold “Red” and May (Kuhnke) Sandberg.

Helen grew up in Whitewater with her brother Hermie and sister Marion, and graduated from City High School in 1947.

She wanted to be a nurse to help people, so she went to Mercy Hospital Nursing School in Janesville, and during her time there she also worked as a nurse’s aide.

Helen graduated in 1950 with a registered nursing degree and became licensed by the State of Wisconsin. She started her career at the University of Wisconsin Hospital (formerly Wisconsin General Hospital) in Madison, and worked there through the 1950s, becoming a head nurse. She spent two years working in hospitals in San Francisco, and loved the rolling hills there.

In addition to serving people as a nurse, Helen served her country by joining the U.S. Army Reserve in the 44th General Hospital MASH unit as a commissioned officer, where she held the rank of 1st Lieutenant. She was offered the rank of Captain but elected to focus on her career and personal life.

It was at that time that she met her future husband, Wayne Harter, at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Madison in 1959. They were married on May 14, 1960, and had 60 years of happiness, companionship and building a family.

Helen and Wayne have two children: Mark, an aerospace engineer in Colorado, married to Kimberly, and Julie, a teacher in Indiana.

Helen continued her nursing career at the original Countryside Home in Jefferson and retired with nearly 40 years of nursing service. She has three grandchildren, Joanna, Noah and Kristina; and one great-grandson, Brecken.

Helen loved birds, sewing, crocheting, crafting, gardening and playing Dominos.

Helen became a Christian in 1965 through the ministry of her sister Marion and good friend Mary Thompson. Her faith in trusting Jesus Christ as her personal Savior has guided her life; she enjoyed studying the Bible and growing closer to God every day.

She led numerous Good News Clubs in Madison in which many neighborhood children were introduced to God and Jesus Christ.

Helen was a faithful member of Calvary Baptist Church in Jefferson for 45 years and touched many lives with her caring, loving and gentle nature.

She is remembered as a warm, caring, friendly person putting God and family first.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; grandson, Noah; and siblings, Marion Bartman and Herman Sandberg.

The family would like to express a sincere thank you to the staff of Fairhaven and Rainbow Hospice for the loving care provided.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Calvary Baptist Church of Jefferson with the Rev. Randy Arbogast and the Rev. Jeff Borchardt presiding.

Visitation will be on Tuesday at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of service.

Burial will take place at Union Cemetery of Jefferson following the service.

Olsen-Gibson Funeral Home is caring for the family. To place an online condolence, please visit:


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