Helen Mae Erickson Totten, 88, passed away peacefully at her home in Washington, Utah on 20 July 2019. In her final days she was surrounded in love by her six daughters, three granddaughters, dear friends and her devoted husband.
Helen was born on 27 June 1931 in Portland, Oregon the third of six children to Matilda Leone Hale and Warren Robert Erickson. She was raised in Portland, Oregon; Afton, Wyoming and Nampa, Idaho. Helen graduated from Brigham Young University in 1953 with a Bachelors degree in Home Economics and English. After graduation she taught at Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon. On 19 December 1959 Helen and John James Totten married in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Together they resided in Portland for two more years while John attended Portland State University. In 1961 they moved to Klamath Falls Oregon where Helen taught at Henley High school while John attended Oregon Technical Institute.
Upon John’s graduation they moved to Livermore, California where Helen taught adult education classes in sewing and cooking. She also worked as the Circulation Manager for the Valley Times Newspaper for 17 years. While in Livermore, the last of their seven children were born, bringing the total to one son and six daughters. Her children were among Helen’s greatest accomplishments.
Helen’s service touched many lives outside of her family as she served in the church. She served twice as a Ward Relief Society President, once as a counselor and also as the Stake Relief Society President. Helen loved music and was the ward Choir Director for 25 years in the Livermore 3rd ward in California. Once retired, John and Helen served as full time missionaries for a total of more than five years serving twice in the Japan Tokyo South mission, on the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations with Welfare Services and Employment, and finally in the Japan Nagoya Mission.
In addition to her dedication to her family and associates she loved camping, hiking and visiting temples - both serving as an ordinance worker in the Oakland Temple and performing saving ordinances in over 45 temples in the US, Canada, and Japan.
After 47 years in central California she moved to Washington, Utah. During her time in Washington, Helen became a friend to many. Within a few years of her move to Washington, Helen was diagnosed with dementia. Even as her health worsened, Helen enjoyed music and time with others. She was cared for in her declining health by her loving husband, dedicated family and the kind staff of Dixie Hospice.
She is survived by her husband of 59 years, John James Totten, her son, Samuel Eric Totten; six daughters, Joanna Mae Adams, Cynthia Ann Totten, Elaine Marie Totten, Deborah Jean Totten, Gayle Diane Haux, and Gloria Beth Riker, nineteen grandchildren and three great granddaughters.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 3, 2019 in the Washington Fields North Stake Chapel of the Eleventh Ward at 1867 South Washington Fields Road, Washington, Utah 84780. Public viewing from 10-10:45 a.m, Memorial Service from 11am – noon. Immediately after the services, interment will be at the Washington City Cemetery at 300 North 300 East.
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