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Helena Kathrine Oline Marie Jensen – Walter Thomsen’s Mother

I, Helena Kathrine Oline Marie Jensen, was born to Jens Valdemar Jensen and Dorthea Marie Pedersen on July 1, 1887, in Hvirring, Skanderborg, Denmark, see map in section 11. I was the eldest of six children: Helena (myself), Petra Elizabeth, Christian Otto, Anna Kristine, Mary Oline and Herluf Hubschman. I took the liberty of changing the last letter of "Helene" to "a", since that is the American pronunciation.

Mother referred to me as her "little helper." She was a kind, gentle person with unlimited love for her family, friends, and those in need. Her poor health hindered her from accomplishing the thing she would have liked to do. She was a nice seamstress and taught me to use a needle early in life. I liked to sew; in fact, I would rather sew than play. I organized a sewing class for the little girls in the neighborhood. We met after school, at which time I taught them to embroider. Mother encouraged this by serving a treat at the end of our class. To me, this was a very satisfying experience, and one which we all enjoyed immensely.

A fond memory is a Christmas Eve in 1895 in Underup. Mother took Anna and stayed at grandfather’s home. Chris, Elizabeth and I joined our father in going to church. It was twilight with white snow and with church bells ringing. The town folks were coming from all around to the church. Christian Thomsen Jensen, my grandfather, was at the organ; the church filled, and grandfather led a hymn. Grandfather came to the pulpit and talked about baby Jesus, and why he died on the cross to save us all. Grandfather was tall and slender. I was so proud of him; he was my grandfather. The services were over; the town folks shook hands and wished each other a Merry Christmas.

We were hungry and hurried home for dinner. Grandfather’s home was quite large for those days. Grandfather gave his standard prayer. We had a traditional Danish Christmas dinner: goose, red cabbage, and rice pudding. As children, we were to be seen but not heard so we were very quiet. After dinner, Grandfather gave thanks for the dinner. The doors to the living room were opened; the small candles on the tree had been lit; we joined hands, walked around the Christmas tree and sang songs. We then opened the packages placed under the Christmas tree. This was our last Christmas in Underup; the next year we moved to Aarhus.

Our baby sister, Mary Oline, was born May 13, 1897, in Aarhus. We were all so happy, but we did not have her for long; she passed away the 11th of September of that year. She was like a beautiful wax doll. It was so hard for dear mother to part with her.

Four years later, April 13, 1901, in Aarhus, Denmark, our baby brother Herluf Hubschman, was born. It was so nice to have a baby in our home again. However, six months was the extent of our joy—he died on the 25th of October. I shall always remember the date, for it was on the day that I returned home from the hospital after a six-week siege of scarlet fever and after effect. It was such a shock to me, since I had not been told of his illness.

Father was reared in a good religious home. Grandfather Jensen was Degn of the Lutheran Church (Danish People’s Church) and school master in Underup, Skanderborg. With such a background, father was able to grasp the truthfulness of the Gospel, as presented to him by the LDS missionaries, who visited our home.

I was the last of our family to join the Church, since it was necessary that I finish my course at the Lutheran Seminary in preparation for graduation from High School. I shall never forget the beauty of the evening of August 12, 1902. Just after sunset, my parents together with two missionaries walked about four miles through a beech forest to the sea. I was baptized in the sea and became a member of the LDS Church. It was one of the highlights of my life.

After graduation, at fifteen, I entered the School of Dressmaking, and later accepted a position in a large store, St. Clemons Madebazar. My Aunt Mina Madsen was in charge of the Dress Department.

Next door was a fine delicatessen and grocery store. One of the young men, named Christian P. Thomsen, always made it a point to serve me whenever I visited the store. He was very nice; I liked him. In 1903, he said he was leaving for America, after his graduation from the School of Business which he was attending in the evenings. His Uncle Anton, owner of a meat market in Omaha, Nebraska, wanted him to join his sister Martha and brother Marius at that place. Chris asked me when I was leaving for America, since he knew that I was baptized into the Church and that my father was also seriously thinking of moving to Zion.

At this time, I was busy in the Church, teaching Sunday school and playing the organ at the meetings. Our meeting house was a little old warehouse, remodeled to suit our purpose. Through our church activities, we enjoyed many good meetings and many social hours, often singing duets with Petra Elizabeth. The Church was not very popular at that time. I lost many friends and associates when I joined.

In 1905, father left for Salt Lake City, Utah, to make a home for his family. Because of his adventuresome spirit and his determination to make good, he was able to endure and graciously overcome, the many hardships and trials which many have had to face in a new country. He came for his religion and had faith that he would succeed, which he did. In 1906, he sent for mother, Christian and Anna. Elizabeth and I decided to stay in Denmark a while longer, since we had good positions and enjoyed our beautiful City of Aarhus, which was surrounded by forests and ocean. I was receiving mail regularly from Chris, who was now in Omaha. He was an excellent penman and wrote beautiful, interesting letters. I loved them and looked forward to seeing him in the near future.

The S.S. Republic White Starr Line, with Elizabeth and I aboard, sailed into the Boston Harbor on August 22, 1907, after a safe journey over the Atlantic Ocean, which was most enjoyable. The missionaries, who came on the same ship, planned a tour to Niagara Falls; we joined them. To us especially, it was a spectacular sight, coming from a small, flat country.

A week later, on our arrival at the Union Pacific Station in Salt Lake City, our folks gave us a hearty welcome. How happy and grateful we all were to be reunited in this great country of the United State, which has so much to offer its people. Never the less, Elizabeth and I had a strange feeling when the ship pulled away from our pretty native land in which we had lived long enough to really love. I became very grateful for the opportunity of coming to this wonderful land, for being in the beautiful valley of the Great Salt Lake, and for sharing the Gospel.

In 1908 and 1909, Chris spent his summer vacations in Salt Lake. We had wonderful times together. Chris had a good position with an insurance company in Omaha, which was hard for him to leave. But in 1910, he applied for work in Salt Lake. However, he did not succeed. Thinking the West Coast might be better, he left for Seattle, Washington to see what the prospects were. There, he obtained work.

A deep sorrow came to our family on March 14, 1911, Elizabeth passed away after a short illness of rheumatic fever. It was hard to part with her. This beautiful girl of just twenty-one years of age was dead. She and I were such close companions; her death came as a shock not only to me but to the family as a whole. I could not think of leaving the family for Seattle, so Chris came back and decided to stay in Salt Lake. Later he was employed by Z.C.M.I. Department Store.

Chris was baptized on March 10, 1912, and became an active member of the Church. We began planning our home at 1314 Pacific Avenue. It was built and furnished in time for our wedding. We were married on July 14, 1914, in the Salt Lake Temple. Mother prepared a lovely family dinner for us. After which we left for the Hermitage Inn in Ogden Canyon, and had a lovely honeymoon.

Our son Walter was born on July 15, 1915, at 7 a.m. He was, and has been, a great joy and blessing to us. We were now a family, with real responsibility.

At this time, Father was traveling as a baker for a large construction company in Utah and Idaho, and for a time in Dayton, Ohio. Dear Mother was with me much of the time. She was a great comfort to me with my baby, but her health kept failing, and on August 18, 1918, she passed away in our home; she had a severe stroke. I missed her very much, my dear angel mother.

I kept busy in our Ward, the Thirty-Second, teaching Sunday School and Mutual; the Beehive girls were my favorite. [The church’s kitchen still had coffee pots, and coffee was frequently enjoyed at Ward parties. In the 1930’s, the Word of Wisdom was more strictly taught, and by the 1950’s, it was more strictly observed by the Church.]

On our district, I had the registration for several years and was appointed a delegate to a convention. But politics were not my specialty. I also managed to find a little time for dressmaking. My dear neighbor took Walter after school. If I was not home, Walter was a very good and dependable boy. He kept busy selling magazines and carrying newspapers.

Entertaining my Luncheon Club and preparing dinners for families and friends was always a pleasure to me. When Walter started school, I served as PTA Secretary for several years at the Edison School.

In 1929, I served as President of the Y.W.M.I.A. This was a happy experience for me. I loved to be with young people.

In 1930, Chris left Z.C.M.I., thinking we would do much better if we had a business of our own. He purchased a small grocery store, which proved to be more hard work than profit. During this time, Chris was taking an extension course in accounting at the University of Utah; the classes were held in the evening. After receiving his diploma in 1934, he returned to Z.C.M.I. With Walter’s help, we kept the business going until 1936, and moved into our duplex, 1245 East 600 South. We then sold our home on Pacific Avenue. Walter was now going to the University of Utah, and I joined the U. of U. Mothers’ Club, serving on various committees. We were now members of the Thirty-third Ward, where I was a Relief Society Visiting Teacher and Assistant Work Director. Later, the ward was divided, and we became members of the Douglas Ward. I was appointed Work Director of the Relief Society and continued as such during World War II.

In June of 1938, Walter graduated from the University as a chemist and was employed by Utah Oil Company. On July 25, 1938, he married Marjorie June White, a lovely girl and beautiful bride, which made us very happy. They built a home at 557 Douglas Street. On April 14, 1939, a handsome baby boy, Roger, was born to them.

At this time, World War II was in progress, and in June Walter became a Lieutenant in R.O.T.C., and left to serve his country. As Captain, Walter led the invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Luzan Island, Philippine. In June 1943, I registered in the Red Cross. Z.C.M.I. had turned their auditorium over to the Red Cross, and there I served as assistant in making and packing surgical dressings. For this and other services, I received a reward. Denmark was suffering much hardship during the war. Chris and I shipped many packages of food and clothing to our homeland, and in appreciation, we received a reward from the government. How grateful we all were when our son Walter returned home after the war in time for Christmas of 1945, after four and a half very hard years.

A second baby boy, Richard, was born to Walter and Marjorie on May 13, 1950. He became a great comfort and blessing to all of us.

My father, "Bedstefar" as he was called by all who knew him, lived alone in his home for years, enjoying good health. But in his ninetieth year, his health began to fail. He passed away on February 18, 1952, in my sister Anna's home, after a short illness.

In May of 1952, Chris retired from the Z.C.M.I., and we were ready to take the trip to Denmark for which we had been planning. (For informa¬tion on this trip, refer to Chris's personal record, for his retirement and all the tours we enjoyed together) During this time, I was a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Utah Mother’s Club, and in 1956, I was elected as its President. This was a happy experience. Dear Chris was a great help, since he took care of my correspondence.

In 1961 Chris's health began to fail. In July of 1963, he had a severe heart attack. After ten days in the hospital, he came home, where I made him comfortable in a hospital bed. His physician advised him to rest for at least six weeks. He was a very good patient; he never complained. He was so happy to be home, and I was very grateful I could take care of him. After his recovery, Dr. Pehrson said Chris could be with us for years. But that was not to be. In March of 1964, he contracted a cold, and his heart was too weak to withstand the strain. My dear husband passed away on March 14, 1964, at 11:00 a.m in the LDS Hospital. Walter and I were at his bedside when the end came. It was a terrible shock, since we both thought we would have a few more years to¬gether. (For services, refer to Cherished Memories, also recording of funeral services).

Chris is now at rest in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, the place he chose, since he wanted to be near the Wasatch Mountains of which he was so fond. I am grateful for the well-nigh fifty years we had to¬gether; grateful for the sweet companionship we shared during his retirement years; and grateful for the many kind deeds which he did for me. I miss him very much. I shall always miss him. In my hours of loneliness, I feel his presents, and it comforts me. How wonderful are my memories, and the knowledge that I have, through the Gospel, that some day, we shall be reunited, never again to part.

I was eighty years old on July 1, 1967. I am still a Visiting Teacher in my Ward Relief Society and able to attend my church meeting. I occasionally entertain families and friends. I am grateful for my wonderful son Walter, for his wife Marjorie, and my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and for my sister and brother, each of whom I love very dearly. I am also grateful for the many shared memories of joys and sorrows throughout my life, and for my health, as it is today. May I be able to carry on and be faithful and true to the end of my days here on earth.

Written by Helene J Thomsen
Written by Helene J Thomsen


Memories of Grandmother:


Grandmother was hard working, active, thrifty, and strong willed. After she turned 80, she crochet beautiful blankets with intricate designs and colors that are masterpieces, made vests for her son and grandson that were remarkable in their precision, and hand made lace handkerchiefs. She cross-stitched pictures for the walls and made larger pieces that upholstered two chairs. Grandmother was a hard worker. She frequently entertained. Often we enjoyed dinner around her small table, sitting on small stools to enable more quests to crowd around her table. Like her father, she was an incredible baker, making especially good breads and rolls. Remaining active at the age of 89, she and her friend left for a week in Hawaii. She made frequent trips downtown and took the bus. She was thrifty, exhibited by taking old dresses and making them anew by her tailoring skills, never wasting, and in saving and investing additional money, even in her retirement years. She was an organizer and told folks what she expected them to do, enhancing her leadership skills at church and in the community.

Grandmother’s fondest wish was to have a grandson serve a mission to Denmark. She had a strong testimony of the LDS Church and was committed to it. She attended all her church meetings and kept the Sabbath holy. Before receiving my mission call, I began to feel the impression that Grandmother was praying for me to go to Denmark. Her faith was strong—I was headed to Denmark on my mission.

Upon turning 90 she said, “I enjoyed my eighties, but I am not looking forward to my nineties.” In 1977, a fall had broken her hip; it took great courage and work to gain mobility. She was now weaker and less mobile. In 1978, she sold the duplex and moved to Stansbury Condominiums located on the southeast corner of 700 East and 200 South. Several of her friends were already living there. She gained many friends and found ways to help her new neighbors. Unfortunately, she was unable to go out alone or to attend her church meetings. She felt lonely when her sister Anna and her brother Chris died in 1982.

In approximately 1982, she was told that Walter had Alzheimer and seemed to quickly loose her will to live. In early June of 1983, it became difficult for her to clean her home and to prepare food. Marjorie was taking care of Walt, and she could not care for both of them. Marilyn and I were blessed to have Helena move into our home that we hoped would be a long stay. At bedtime, I frequently overheard her prayers, asking Heavenly Father for death. As a result of a worn out pulmonary system, she weakened quickly. On July 1st, she turned 96, becoming unconscious on the same day. She died on July 3, 1983, in our home in West Valley, Utah.

Written by Richard W. Thomsen

Helena Kathrine Oline Marie Jensen
Helena Kathrine Oline Marie Jensen
Helena in Aarhus, Denmark, January 10, 1907
Helena in Aarhus, Denmark, January 10, 1907
In 1917 at Pacific Avenue
In 1917 at Pacific Avenue
Helena, Walter, and Chris
Helena on her front porch on Pacific Avenue in about 1929
Helena on her front porch on Pacific Avenue in about 1929
Helena in 1909 in Salt Lake City
Helena in 1909 in Salt Lake City
Coffee being enjoyed in their dining room at Pacific Avenue
Coffee being enjoyed in their dining room at Pacific Avenue Left to right: Walter, friend, Anna, Helena, and Edith
Front of home at 1245 East 600 South, about 1936
Front of home at 1245 East 600 South, about 1936
One of many elegant dinners around their table, in about 1956
One of many elegant dinners around their table, in about 1956 L to R: Marjorie, Richard, Roger, Helena, and Christian
Helena at her Desk in 1952
Helena at her Desk in 1952
Chris and Helena at the front door at 1245 East 600 South
Chris and Helena at the front door at 1245 East 600 South
About 1977 in the living room of Walter and Marjorie Thomsen
About 1977 in the living room of Walter and Marjorie Thomsen

Favorite Recipes of Helena’s

Danish Pickles – Typed by Chris
Danish Pickles – Typed by Chris
Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf Secrets of great meat loaf were to beat it to death, whole wheat bread, eggs, tomato paste, lean meats, and her pickle relish. For a opened faced sandwich, her Health Bread and meat loaf were thinly sliced, the bread was buttered. Pickle Relish in Helena’s handwriting
Danish Dumplings
Danish Dumplings After preparing dumpling, place them in the hot soup to warm. Helena’s soup was Campbell’s Beef Bouillon with a moderate amount of celery, carrots, and parsley.
Health Bread in Marilyn Thomsen’s handwriting
Health Bread in Marilyn Thomsen’s handwriting
Wedding Announcement
Wedding Announcement
Rolls in Marilyn Thomsen’s handwriting and always made by Marilyn after lesson from Helena
Rolls in Marilyn Thomsen’s handwriting and always made by Marilyn after lesson from Helena
Danish Apple Cake
Danish Apple Cake
Use rye bread or whole wheat bread if possible

Baked Chicken

Cover chicken breasts with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup & wine (Grandma kept a bottle of white wine in the kitchen just for this recipe; we can use white grape juice), spice with salt and pepper, and add sliced onions, cover, cook slowly in the oven at 325 degrees.
Danish Apple Cake

Tomato Aspect, frequently used by Marjorie, to be fancy, salad shrimps were added
Tomato Aspect, frequently used by Marjorie, to be fancy, salad shrimps were added

The following 4 recipes are authentic Danish recipes brought from Denmark by Richard.

Danish Christmas Rice Pudding

1 cup rice
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup slivered almonds
3 cups milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups whipping cream

Cook the rice in the milk until creamy and the rice is done, let stand until cool, and then add the sugar, vanilla, and nuts. Shortly before serving, whip the cream with vanilla and sugar and fold into the rice pudding. Serve with either a raspberry, strawberry or cherry sauce.

Danish Christmas Potatoes

Cut up potatoes so they are round and no larger then 2 inches in diameter and boil.
Brown ¼ cup of sugar until it becomes caramel, add ¼ lb butter and mix together.
Roll the potatoes in the caramelized butter sauce.

Danish Christmas Pork

Take a pork loin, fill center with plumbs and apricots, combine 1 part with equal amounts of pepper, salt, ginger, and 2 parts sugar and rub into fat and rind, bake in oven.

Danish Christmas Red Cabbage

Cut a head of red cabbage into thin slices, boil with a moderate amount of water, over cook until the water barely covers the cabbage, leave juice in pan and mix cabbage with vinegar and raspberry jam to taste.


Helena’s English Tea Cake was Richard Thomsen’s favorite recipe. Helena always made it for Richard’s birthdays. For this reason it gets its own page. It is a fun recipe because it is in her handwriting and on her letterhead, including phone number and address. If you are unsuccessful with this recipe, just call the phone number provided. Finally, to show appreciation for Richard’s hard work in completing this family history book, all family members should prepare this recipe frequently, especially while Richard is still alive and especially when he is visiting you. The fruit mix mentioned in the recipe is the fruit used in making fruit cake.

Helena’s English Tea Cake
Melt butter and scald milk, dissolve 1 to 2 tablespoons yeast in warm water, combine all ingredients, stir until the dough is stiff and shiny, spread in a greased and floured 11” by 8” glass pan, top with streusel topping, let raise until double, bake 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, when cool, frost.