Helen Aldrich

1925  –  2021



image of Helen Aldrich

Helen Aldrich

Helen Aldrich, age 96,  was born in lower Manhattan, New York City.  Her family included her parents and siblings,  Michael, Mary and Dorothy.

Helen graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn in 1941.

Her first jobs included working in 5 & 10 cents stores as a sale clerk.  Her job as a telephone operator for the New York Telephone Company began in 1943.

The office she worked in included the coin boxes located in the telephone booths along the docks of the Hudson River in addition to many businesses and homes. Because this was during the war years it was an extremely busy office as these coin booths were the ones that the servicemen rushed to as their ships came in from overseas and also for that last call home before they left for war duty.  All were so anxious to make their calls, however, before the call could be put through, Helen had to tell them the cost of three minutes and then listen to the coins drop.  If the calls went over the three minutes Helen would ring the phone back to ask for the additional charge.

Helen happened to be at work the day President Roosevelt died.  When the news broke the switchboard immediately was ablaze with lights waiting to be answered so the operator could answer the call.  It took hours for things to return to normal.

The same scene was repeated on VJ Day.  It was during those war years that Helen met Oren, a sailor from Milwaukie, Oregon, at a roller skating rink in Brooklyn.  Their two year courtship didn’t include many dates, instead it was built on VMail letters as his ship was out at sea in the Atlantic and Pacific War Theatres for months at a time.

After not seeing each other for 9 months, Oren and Helen were married.  Three days later he was shipped out for another 6 months. Upon his discharge in early 1946 they started their lives together in Milwaukie, Oregon and then to Springfield, Oregon where they lived for 40 years.

It was here, that their children, Susan, Tom and Julie were born.

After 12 years with the Springfield School District, Helen retired in 1983.

In 1985, Oren and Helen were able to achieve their long dreamed of goal of moving to Bend.

The ensuing years were busy with much traveling to satisfy their interest in our country’s history and geography.

Helen also made four trips to Eastern Europe where she was able to locate family.

Along with this were many miles and years of cross country skiing and hiking which gave her so much pleasure.

She spent 12 years as a volunteer in many areas of the High Desert Museum.

Other interests included reading, her beloved Book Club, gardening and spinning. She also took a great number and variety of classes for the pure pleasure of learning.

Her many friends meant a great deal to her.

The ‘one and only’ man in her life died in 2010.

After living 75 years in her beloved Oregon, Helen moved to Seattle to live with Julie and Cliford.  Helen died peacefully at home, with her children at her side.

She leaves behind her beloved children Susan and Don Ramsay (Burns, OR), Thomas (OR),  Julie and Cliford Pierre-Louis (Seattle, WA), and her sister Mary (Macon GA).

The family will be planning a celebration of life later in April with her church, Bend United Methodist Church, Bend, Oregon.

In lieu of flowers, consider donations to local Bend organizations that Helen supported:

Humane Society of Central Oregon – Shelter Pets, Humane Society of Central Oregon –

Mobile Spay and Neuter Program, Partners in Care, or an organization of your choice.

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