Helen Hansen Thorpe
A beloved human being with an angelic spirit, Helen Hansen Thorpe, 86, was greeted at Heavens
door Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Her husband and children were by her side at the time of her
departure. She had endured a brave struggle with cancer for the past five years. Through it all,
she was more concerned for others than for herself.
Helen was born March 8, 1925 in Malad, Idaho, to parents Heber Willard and Charlotte Ann
Evans Hansen. She attended Malad schools and graduated from the class of 1942. During the
summer months of her childhood, the family farmed ground and raised cattle in the Pocatello
Valley area, 17 miles west of Malad. Helen learned the value of hard work as a farmers daughter,
where hot meals were prepared and served three times daily. She often reminisced about the old
farm house that had no plumbing, no electricity and a wood-burning cook stove. As a teenager,
she worked for Horsley’s Corner Store as a cashier.
At the age of 17, Helen married the one-and-only Love-of-Her -Life, Eugene Walker Thorpe in
the Salt Lake City Temple. They recently celebrated their 68-year anniversary.
At the time of their marriage, Eugene was enlisted in the Army Air Corp and stationed at Fort
Douglas near Salt Lake City. Soon afterward, Eugene was relocated to Columbia Army Air Corp
Base in South Carolina, where Helen soon joined him. The following year she gave birth to the
couples first son, Dennis. Upon Eugene’s discharge from the military at end of World War II, the
couple returned to Utah where Eugene re-enlisted in what became the US Air Force.
Three months after the birth of their second son, Gerald Dee, the couple moved to Muroc,
California, now known as Edwards Air Force Base. Three and a half-years later, the couple
added a girl to the family, Diana Kristine. During a period of approximately one-and-a-half
years, Helen returned to Malad with the couple’s children while Eugene’s job took him overseas.
Helen worked at Edwards Air Force Base NCO Club as a cook, waitress, and eventually as Club
manager for a year before beginning employment with the Bank of America in California.
Upon the end of Eugene’s 20 ½ year career with the Air Force as a Aerial Photographer, the
couple returned to Utah in 1962 and purchased a home in South Ogden, Utah. Helen began a
career with Commercial Security Bank while Eugene worked as a Civil Service employee. She
eventually left her job to care for her mother. In the autumn of 2010, the couple moved to Legacy
Village retirement center in Layton, Utah.
Helen’s life revolved around family and friends. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners held at the
Thorpe home were delicious and plentiful. Helen was an incredible cook and a gracious hostess.
She was often referred to by nieces and nephews as ‘my other mother’, or to some, ‘the mother I never had’, and to yet others ‘more like a mother than a grandmother’.
Helen is survived by her husband, Eugene, their three children, Dennis (Margaret), Malad,
Gerald (Donna), Layton, Diana (Dennis) Solomon, Apple Creek, Ohio and, Loren Banfield,
whom Helen considered as her ‘adopted son’. Helen is also by survived by the following
grandchildren: Steven Eugene Thorpe, Christine Denise (Christopher) Vigil, Hollie Denise
Morrison, Riley Gene Evans, Michael Dee Thorpe, Robert Walker Thorpe, Ryan Curtis Thorpe,
and Dakota Walker Thorpe, as well as 15 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Lorraine Wakley, brothers, Grant, LaRay,
Darrel, and half-brother, Joseph Reynolds.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, April 5 at 1:00 p.m.at the Third Ward Chapel, 400 North 200 West,
Malad, Idaho. Friends may visit with the family on Monday evening, April 4, from 6-8 p.m.
at Horsley Funeral Home, 132 West, 300 North, Malad, Idaho, and again from 11:30a.m.-12:30
p.m. prior to the funeral services on April 5th. Interment will be at the Malad City Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to www.horsleyfuneralhome.com