Helen Marie (Sohlberg) Laughbaum, age 89, passed away on Saturday evening at Lakeview Assisted Living in Gladstone.
Helen was the second and youngest child of A. Theodore and Hanna (Hedlund) Sohlberg. She was born on November 3, 1920 in Escanaba and for the majority of her life resided in the family home on Wisconsin Avenue in Gladstone.
Helen was valedictorian of Gladstone High School’s Class of 1938. She received an Associate in Arts degree from North Park College in 1940 and in 1942 a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a teaching certificate at Northern Michigan College of Education.
Following college, Helen moved to Pellston, Michigan to teach English and History at McKinley Township Unit School, where she met and befriended her future husband, Art Laughbaum. Feeling compelled to contribute to the war effort, Helen joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in 1945 and served as a surgical technician at Chanute Field, Illinois. A great lover of books, Helen had always entertained the idea of becoming a librarian and after her discharge from the army she attended the University of Chicago’s Graduate Library School under the G.I. bill, earning her degree in 1948.
Helen returned to Gladstone to work as public/school librarian for the next six years. During a brief time living and working in Lansing, she reconnected with Art who was teaching nearby. They married on August 21, 1955 at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Gladstone. Helen resumed her position as public/school librarian in Gladstone and Helen and Art settled in the Sohlberg home, where they raised their three children. Starting in 1965 and for the next twenty years, Helen worked as a librarian with Escanaba Area Schools in charge of the elementary school libraries and later as high school librarian. She and Art, who was also employed at the high school in Escanaba, retired together in 1985.
Helen was a devout and faithful member of the United Evangelical Covenant Church where she acted as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent, founded and ran the church library, organized many programs including the church’s centennial celebration, and was actively involved in numerous church groups over the years. Helen felt extremely blessed by the support of her church family, particularly during the last months of her life.
Helen’s many travels included family trips across the United States and to Europe, as well as visits to Israel, Sweden, and Mexico following her retirement. Throughout her life, Helen enjoyed visiting relatives and hosting gatherings of family and friends in her home. She dearly loved her family and spending time with her five grandchildren.
Helen was an avid gardener and a voracious reader. Her appetite for books led her to donate hundreds of volumes to the Gladstone library’s mystery section and she loved to give books to children. Helen was a member of the Delta County Historical Society, Friends of the Library, the MEA, and MARSP, was a “Reading Buddy” at Gladstone schools and an active participant in Gladstone’s centennial celebration.
Helen is survived by one son, James (Barbara) Laughbaum of Gladstone; two daughters, Margie (Chris) Sande of Beverly Hills, MI and Carol (David) Fisher of Bloomfield Hills, MI; five grandchildren: Marie Sande, Chelsea Heimerl, David Laughbaum, Annelise Fisher, and Jack Fisher, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, Helen was preceded in death by her husband Art Laughbaum and her sister, Dorothea Carlson.
Visitation for Helen M. Laughbaum will be held at the United Evangelical Covenant Church of Delta County in Gladstone from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturday, followed by funeral services with Rev. Nathan Langager officiating and Rev. Ann Maleski assisting. Luncheon will be served in the church fellowship hall following services. Interment will be in Bark River Cemetery in Bark River.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Helen