Helen Jean Tegner

April 19, 1921April 15, 2013

Helen Jean Swanson was born in the home of her grandparents in Omaha, Nebraska, to parents Harold V. and Teckla C. (Holt) Swanson on April 19,1921. She was raised in Gary, Indiana and later Christopher, Illinois. Helen had two siblings: sisters Barbara and Marilyn. She played in her high school band in Christopher, and graduated from Christopher High School in 1938. Following graduation from high school, at the height of the Great Depression, Helen followed her family to Seattle, Washington where her father found work with the Army Corps of Engineers. Helen met Robert F. Tegner (Bob) in Seattle and the two were married in Seattle on November 17,1942. Bob was a navigator in the Army Air Corps and Helen was able to follow Bob to the countless destinations and air bases around the United States until Bob was deployed overseas during WWII. Following the conclusion of the war, they returned to Seattle and Bob attended college at the University of Washington. After graduation, Bob went to work as a writer and the family relocated to Tumwater, Washington. Bob and Helen had four children: sons Douglas, Thomas, Ronald and Harold. The young family moved to and lived in several cities including Spokane, WA, Concord, CA, and Beaverton, OR. Helen, or “Helen Jean” as she liked to be addressed, was not only a devoted wife, loving mother, and wonderful homemaker, but she worked outside the home for much of her life. She mainly worked as an administrative assistant and performed clerical work for various industries including construction and banking. Helen also worked as church secretary. As a young mother and wife, Helen continued the household traditions she learned from her mother and she enjoyed cooking, baking, and canning. She also enjoyed knitting, and later in life was responsible for knitting the family-famous “Christmas Stockings” that were proudly hung by the chimney. After Bob’s retirement from his employment as a writer for the US Government, the two took off on an adventure in a 5th wheel trailer. During a two-year period, they visited Canada, several places in the US, and also spent time in Mexico. In 1983 Bob and Helen settled in the Beaverton / Hillsboro area of Oregon and spent the rest of their lives there. Helen Jean will be remembered as someone who kept family as her central focus. She loved family gatherings, birthday parties and holiday get togethers so she could just be surrounded by her family. She was completely devoted to Bob and it has been said “he was her whole life”. Never were there two people who loved each other more. In the summer of 1992, a large outdoor celebration and family gathering was held to celebrate Robert and Helen Jean’s 50th wedding anniversary. In 1993, Bob passed away after a battle with cancer. Helen was heartbroken and missed him terribly and always kept him close to her heart. Now they are together again. It is crucial to note that though Helen Jean was very devoted to her husband and family, church life was also very important to her. She was a proud and involved member of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Beaverton, OR. Helen Jean was “not shy” and enjoyed volunteering her time and effort. She liked to get involved wherever she could – whether it was helping with bible studies or working together with her church members to assist those less fortunate. Helen Jean is predeceased by her parents Harold and Teckla; her loving husband, Robert; and sister, Barbara Miller. Survivors include her sons: Doug (wife Nancy), Tom (wife Becky), Ron (wife Lois), and Harold (wife Cindie). She is also survived by her sister, Marilyn Anderson, 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. A Celebration of Helen's life will be held in Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 17625 NW Cornell Rd Beaverton, OR 97006, on Saturdy, May 4, at 2pm. She will be privately laid to rest in Skyline Memorial Gardens in Portland, Oregon.

Remembrances in lieu of flowers may be made to American Cancer Society.

Please visit Helen's Internet memorial and online guestbook at Thank you.


  • A Celebration of Helen's Life Saturday, May 4, 2013

Helen Jean Tegner

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May 5, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Dan and Laurie Hicks

Beverly Copeland

April 24, 2013

Helen Jean and her family (parents, husband,sons, sisters) were my favorite cousins. I shall miss her greatly.

Harris Horn

April 23, 2013

Ron and Family,

I was saddened by the news of your mothers death. I hope the sad days will pass quickly and you will be able to rejoice in the fond memories of your mother's life forever more!

Harris Horn and Family

April 20, 2013

I will very much miss my Dearest friend of 50 years. Our Sympathy to all the family.Ruth and Doug Mclagan

Terry and Marvi Patrick

April 20, 2013

I was sadden to receive word of Helen's passing. She always had a smile and a laugh when we met.

Rudy& Aggie Wagemann

April 20, 2013

Helen Jean you will be so Greatly missed, You were always such a sweetheart, Will miss your Empty chair in Church. So Richly Bless you! Love You Helen Jean, an miss your empty seat on Sunday, Blessings!!

April 20, 2013

So sorry to hear of Helen Jean death Sending my sincere sympathy
Rosemary Salber