Helen Bernice Atkinson Ripplinger was born on September 28th, 1932 in their little log cabin in Chapin (Victor), Idaho to Walter Atkinson and Bernice McBride Atkinson in Teton Valley. Ardella was born first. After Helen came Bert, LeRoy, Don, Steven, Keith, and David (who was stillborn). They grew up in Chapin.
Helen attended elementary school in Victor until it burned down during her first grade school year. After that, it might be held in the church house, a three-room cabin or in the bank building.
She played first base in softball for the city recreation for three years and helped win a championship. She loved dancing. She would work in the potatoes to earn money. Some other jobs she did were weeding carrots, picking peas and selling movie tickets in Victor.
Helen played volleyball and basketball while she attended high school in Driggs. After she graduated from high school, she worked various jobs for a while, and then accepted a job at the Driggs City Courthouse. She was the deputy assessor, treasurer, driver license tester, property tax collector and she filled out reports. She moved into an apartment with friends. One was Nonie Manier. It was her friend, Nonie, who asked her to go to Detroit to pick up a car, with Fred and Rhoda Bowen and others, including Weston Ripplinger. She and Weston fell in love on that trip. They were married April 1, 1953 in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.
On May 17, 1954, their son, Terry was born. The following Spring on April 21, 1955 their son, Michael was born. Debbie was born November 12, 1958. In the winters, the family would go to Mesa, Arizona to work with Weston’s father and mother, Carl and Alena Ripplinger. Tammie was born January 2, 1961. They started living on the farm they had bought in Bates from his parents full-time, farming and milking cows around the time their sons entered school. The four of them would work together, moving sprinkler pipes and hauling hay. Sherry joined the growing family on December 1, 1964 and Blaine on January 27, 1967. In 1974, they sold their milk cows and traded them for beef cows, when their sons went on missions. They helped with an oil drilling business on their property and earned oil money proceeds one year.
Weston got caught in the power take off while unloading grain into the storage bin, in 1987, which broke his legs, ribs and arm, while Blaine was serving his mission. Helen, Sherry, friends and family had to take over all the farming and ranching chores until Weston recovered. Blaine came home a bit early to complete the farming that summer.
Helen didn’t want to leave her growing family, but she served a mission with Weston to Corpus Christi, Texas in 1992.
As she was growing up and throughout her life, her best friend was her older sister, Ardella. They both lived in Teton Valley all their lives. They raised their families together. Helen enjoyed watching each of her younger brothers play basketball.
Helen felt that she and Weston were blessed with wonderful children, whom she loved, and they loved their children’s spouses like their own.
Helen performed a lot of service. She was a really good cook, especially homemade rolls and chokecherry jelly.
She worked side by side with Weston on their farm. She supported her children in all their activities. She supported her husband in all of his activities and service.
She was talented at inviting family, relatives, and friends into her home. She also loved Weston’s side of the family. She loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Helen was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served in Primary and other positions.
Helen is preceded in death by her husband, Weston A. Ripplinger; her son, Terry Lynn Ripplinger; her sister, Ardella; her brothers Bert and David; and her parents and grandparents. Helen is survived by her children, (MaryAnn) Ripplinger of Safford, Arizona; Michael (Tracey) Ripplinger of Brigham City, Utah; Debbie (Nolan) Anderson of Twin Falls, Idaho; Tammie (Kenneth) Robins of Mountain Home, Idaho; Sherry (Clint) Argyle of Spanish Fork, Utah; and Blaine (Nikki) Ripplinger of Driggs, Idaho. Helen is also survived by her many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Also her brothers LeRoy (Charlene), Don (Kristi), Steve and Keith (Jackie).
Funeral services will be held on Monday, December 18, 2023 at 11:00 am at the Driggs Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The family will receive friends Sunday evening from 5-6:30 pm and again Monday from 9:30 to 10:45 am.
To watch the funeral remotely go to https://zoom.us/j/96108897295