Helen Ann (Sandberg) Jones
Helen Ann (Sandberg) Jones of Whitehall, Wisconsin passed away peacefully and entered her Heavenly home on October 5, 2023. She was eighty-nine years old and spent her final moments surrounded by her loving family. Helen was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 10, 1934 to Joel and Anna (Pearson) Sandberg.
Helen and Bob Otterbacher had two sons, Tim (Lisa) Otterbacher of Whitewater, Wisconsin and Jon (Dani) Otterbacher of Muskego, Wisconsin. Her family grew when she married Dick Jones on December 1, 1979, when she lovingly welcomed four additional children into her heart: Gayle (Gary) Larson of San Ramon, California, Dana Kelnhofer of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Jeff (Shannon) Jones of San Antonio, Texas, and Peter (Jessica) Jones of Casper, Wyoming. The whole family is and will be forever grateful that Helen and Dick brought them all together.
Her family, and certainly anyone with the privilege of meeting her, would describe Helen as a one of a kind woman, filled with a unique unfiltered sense of humor that offered wit at every corner, yet remained timeless and classy. Much to her grandkids’ delight, she never turned down an opportunity for shenanigans, and cousins’ weekends at grandma and grandpa’s were a source of constant laughter. Not to mention the fact that her blueberry pie was second-to-none and one to emulate. Described as a shining light with a warm Christian heart, Helen accepted others and taught them that it’s okay to be different. Her family will miss her sense of humor, loving spirit, and thoughtful conversations.
Helen dedicated her life to raising her children, offering compassionate care to those navigating mental health challenges, and loving every dog that passed her way. For Helen, sometimes loving dogs was easier than loving people, yet she still loved all of us with an unconditional devotion. Dick and Helen eventually built their home atop a hill overlooking a sprawling valley. Lovingly deemed the “Crazy J Ranch,” everybody who stepped foot in their home was family.
Helen filled her time at the Crazy J Ranch beautifying their new home while connecting with new treasured friends who shared the same joys as she–not least of which was her lifelong love affair for antique dolls. Her love of antique dolls started with her mom purchasing her first doll, Shirley Temple, which created a passion that lasted throughout her life. Helen was considered a resident expert of antique dolls, serving as both a national and international judge and monitor for the United Federation of Doll Clubs.
Helen’s 40-year nursing career began in West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois. Helen then moved to Williams Bay, Wisconsin where she continued her career as a nurse, and concluded her full-time career as a psychiatric nurse administrator with the Lakeland Counseling Center. After relocating to Whitehall, she worked part-time at the Trempealeau County Health Care Center.
Helen was preceded in death by her loving husband Richard Jones, her parents, and stepson Peter Jones. Helen is survived by her loving and devoted children, thirteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Helen will be missed by many. Her beautiful life will be celebrated on Saturday, October 28 at 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church in Whitehall, Wisconsin (36185 Abrams St.); it will also be livestreamed at firstbaptistwhtl.org.
In lieu of memorial gifts or flowers, please consider a donation to the Lakeland Animal Shelter in Elkhorn, Wisconsin (lakelandanimalshelter.org), St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee (stjude.org), or the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota (nationaleaglecenter.org).