Barbara Joan Helbach passed away peacefully on Christmas morning in Sandpoint. She was born November 24, 1928 in Audubon, Iowa, to Glenn and June Johnson. She grew up on the family farm in Iowa. There will be a Celebration of Life on June 29, in Bonners Ferry.
She grew up on the family farm in Iowa. After graduating from high school, she received her teaching certificate from Iowa State Teacher’s College. She met Doyle Helbach while in college. He was a star on the basketball team. They married in June 1952 and they had two sons, Mike and Charlie.
The small family moved around in the early years, including spending a year in Polson, Montana, where Barb taught school and Doyle worked in the cherry factories. They finally settled down in Walla Walla, Washington. She taught first and second graders in Walla Walla for over 30 years. One story she enjoyed telling is that she swapped her duties doing “computer things” for recess duty. Recess duty was considered hard duty!
Barb and the family always enjoyed their summer vacations. There was usually a train trip to return to her roots in Iowa to spend time with her parents and her sister Margaret. The family also owned a rustic cabin on McGregor Lake in Montana where her sons learned their love of fishing. Many wonderful stories include the summer of 1967 when her dad, Glenn, spent time with the family at McGregor, especially his “whoop whoop” coming through the meadow with freshly caught fish.
Barb and Doyle retired to Naples and were an active part of the Fall Creek community. Barb loved the rural life at Fall Creek and really enjoyed entertaining friends at her home and spending the hot summer days by the creek. She was very active with the Helping Hands of Naples. Barb always put others ahead of herself and helped others as best as she could whenever help was needed.
Barb loved reading, hiking, and spending time outdoors. She also loved traveling to Canada with her close friends.
After Doyle’s passing in 1992, Barb had a long-time partner, Bill Clayeux, and they were together until he passed in 2022. She lived the last few years of her life at Luther Park Sand Point to help Bill through the late stages of Alzheimer’s. After Bill’s passing, she made a significant impact on the Luther Park community with her wry sense of humor, impromptu poems and upbeat outlook on life.
Barb is survived by her two sons, Mike and Charlie, and their wives, whom she viewed as daughters. She is also survived by her grandson Tyler, his wife Madison and her great grandsons, Shea and Owen.
Memorials may be sent to The Helping Hands of Naples, c/o Sherry Pick – Treasurer, 165 Morris Rd, Naples, ID 83847.