Helen Joyce (Buelow) Paulsen

Helen Joyce (Buelow) Paulsen

February 2, 1936 – February 25, 2023

Helen Joyce (Buelow) Paulsen was born in Montevideo, Minnesota, on February 2, 1936, to Lawrence and Elsie (Bubolz) Buelow. She received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism on March 08, 1936, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Montevideo. She was confirmed there on April 02, 1950. Joyce, as her father called her, graduated from St. Cloud State University with a BS in Education.

Helen became a teacher in Austin, Minnesota, where she met her future spouse, who lived next door. On July 24, 1960, she married Duane Paulsen of Spencer, Iowa, at St. Paul’s in Montevideo. After a few years in Austin, Helen made a loving home in Forest City, Iowa, for 23 years, where she raised two children, Gregory and Stephanie. Helen always said, “I am so lucky. My children are so good to me.” She loved being a mother and wife and making the perfect home.

In Forest City, Helen worked at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home as a bookkeeper while leading social events for the residents. 

She also found enrichment in teaching non-traditional students who were preparing for their General Educational Development Test. 

Helen moved with Duane to Ottumwa, Iowa, for a year, where she taught in a small alternative school. She then returned to Austin, Minnesota, where she worked as the corporate and research and development librarian for Hormel Foods Corporation until she retired to a cabin on Leech Lake, Minnesota.  

There was never a craft Helen couldn’t master, from tiling her homes to basket weaving, sculpture, and stain-glass making. At the lake, Helen spent her days listening to the call of the Loons, sewing, quilting, cross-stitching, shopping, knitting, reading and making delicious recipes from her collection of over 1000 cookbooks. She loved trying new recipes and making desserts, but she was most proud of her famous potato salad from her mother’s recipe. Helen never wanted to leave the cabin and loved adventures and the scenery of the lake.    

In 2013, Helen and Duane began wintering in Omaha, Nebraska, to avoid the harsh Minnesota winters and to spend time with the children and her grandson. With fond memories and a heavy heart, Helen left the lake in 2020 because of her health. 

Helen appreciated the care Duane, her children, and caregivers provided, but she never wanted to be a burden or fussed over.

Before Helen could no longer speak, her faith was evident, having been raised among many family ministers. She often said, “Give your burdens to the Lord” and “Take it to the Lord in Prayer.” James 1:5.   

Helen is survived by Duane, her very devoted husband of 63 years, who lovingly cared for her. She also leaves two children, Gregory Paulsen and Stephanie (Robert) Kahl of Omaha; a grandson, Michael (Joelle) Paulsen of Bartlett, Illinois; four great-grandsons; and many loving friends whose friendship she valued.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Elsie and Lawrence; her great nephew Adam Mikelson; and her brother Norman Buelow.

The Lord gave Helen the crown of life on February 25, 2023, at the age of 87 and 23 days. A brief celebration of life service will be held 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 3, 2023 at Lord of Life 20844 Bonanza Blvd, Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022. Fellowship to follow service. 

Streaming will be available on Lord of Life Lutheran’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LordofLifeElkhorn and on their YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/@lordoflifelutheranchurchel8262/streams

Memorials may be made to Helen’s former retirement church home, Immanuel Lutheran Church School, 4656 State 200 NW, Walker, MN 56484. 


  • Lyn Cordova Posted March 1, 2023 5:33 pm

    My deepest condolences to the family. I know she will definitely be missed. She was a beautiful and special lady based on the stories Steph shared. Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers always. <3

  • Melissa Barglof-Johnson Posted March 3, 2023 7:12 am

    My condolences to Duane, Gregory, Stephanie, & the rest of Helen’s family and friends. I haven’t seen everyone since the passing of Duane’s parents but you wrote a lovely detailed obituary that I enjoyed reading. May your love for her keep her alive in your memories.

  • John F White Posted March 3, 2023 9:59 am

    Carol and I are sad to hear about the loss of your mother. We have you and your family in our prayers.

    John & Carol White

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