Helen Marie (Sportel) Huibregtse, age 98 of Pipestone, Minnesota passed away on September 4, 2022. She is loved, missed and fondly remembered as a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher.
She was born on October 25, 1923, to Grace and Henry Sportel while living in rural Adrian, Minnesota. When Helen was 10 years old the family moved to a farm near Holland, Minnesota. As a child of the Depression, she, along with her older sister, JoAnn and younger brothers, Henry "Spark" and Ray, became familiar with hard work and making do with less. She excelled in school and graduated from Verdi High School in May 1942 as the class Salutatorian.
Helen always knew she wanted to be a teacher and often pressured her siblings into playing school. She obtained her teaching degree from Mankato State Teacher’s College in August 1944, and afterward taught in several rural schools near Pipestone and Holland before her marriage. Helen received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Southwest Minnesota State College in 1973. She also taught in elementary schools in Ruthton, Minnesota and Jasper, Minnesota for many years. Helen’s teaching style was “be firm, but kind,” a philosophy she also adopted as a beloved parent and grandparent.
She met her future husband, Melvin Huibregtse through his sister, Ruby, a friend from church. Ruby would often invite Helen to stay for Sunday supper and Melvin would offer to drive her home. They married on June 30, 1950, at First Presbyterian Church in Holland. The couple lived in Holland for several years, welcoming their first son, Bruce, in March 1951.
After moving to Pipestone in 1955, the family welcomed a son, Brent, in June 1955 and a daughter, Renee, in April 1961.
Helen was well-read and articulate, with strong convictions on many topics, including politics. She was a devout Christian and active in the First Presbyterian Church in Pipestone for many years, serving as Sunday school teacher, elder, and deacon. After Melvin’s passing, she regularly attended Aquanastics classes at the Pipestone Ewert Center, learned how to use a personal computer, and fulfilled a life-long dream to buy and learn to play an organ.
In 2017, Helen moved to Ridgeview Estates in Pipestone. On July 27, 2022, she was moved to Pipestone County Hospice where she ultimately passed away.
She is survived by her son, Brent of St. Clair, Minnesota; daughter, Renee and her husband, Kent Moe, of Scottsdale, Arizona; granddaughter, Shelby Moe of Phoenix, Arizona; daughter-in-law, DeAnna Huibregtse of Fort Collins, Colorado; and brother, Ray Sportel and his wife, Gen of Lake Benton, Minnesota. She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Grace Sportel; sister, JoAnn Ankrum; brother, Henry "Spark" Sportel; and her son, Bruce.