Helen Charlo, 100, passed away on December 13, 2017, surrounded by her family at her home in Elmo.
She was born on June 7, 1917 in a Teepee in Elmo to John and Josephine Couture. She was the youngest of 5 children. She attended school in Kalispell, Sunny Slope School, Polson, and St. Ignatius. During school she played center for her basketball team.
In 1934, she married Samuel Hewankorn and they had 5 children together; Eugene, Henry, Leona, Florence and Christine. Samuel passed away in the 1960’s. In the early 1970’s, Helen married Tony Charlo, and they set up their household in Elmo. In 1978, they adopted her grandson Sammy.
Helen held many jobs; including working in the orchards thinning and picking apples. She served as powwow police with her partner in crime, Adeline Mathias. She spent many summers picking huckleberries in Buckhorn, traveling to different powwows to play stickgame, and to different places for bingo. She was also a very talented hide tanner and did beautiful beadwork.
During her later years, she was a Kootenai Language Instructor at Salish Kootenai College and Two Eagle River School. She made a great impact on many of her students with her unique teaching techniques and humor.
She is preceded in death by her two sons, Eugene and Henry; outlived her 2 husbands; 3 brother, Pete, Joseph and Alex; 1 sister, Madeline; her mother, her father, and numerous nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
She was survived by her three daughters; Leona of Worley, Idaho; Florence of Polson; Chrissie of Big Arm; her son Sam of Ronan; and her step-son Victor of Dixon. Helen was blessed with 13 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, 9 great-great grandchildren, with 2 more great grandchildren due in 2018.
Services are Friday, December 15 with Rosary at 8 PM at the Elmo Community Center. Funeral will be Saturday, December 16 at 11 AM with Pastor Sika officiating, followed by burial at the Dayton Cemetery.