Margarete Helm

Margarete Helm (nee Pignat), 90, of the town of Polk, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010, at Serenity Villa in Slinger.

She was born on Oct. 25, 1920, in Herrnstadt, Schlesien (Silesia), to the late Gustav and Auguste (nee Bartnik) Pignat.

As a young adult, she worked as a nanny in Luebeck and Liepzig before she got married.

On Nov. 18, 1944, she was united in marriage to Erich Helm in the former Juliusburg, Schlesien (Silesia), and eventually migrated across the border and raised three boys in Oberjossa, Hessen, West Germany.

In 1954, the family came to North America, living in Canada before coming to the United States in 1955. In September 1957, they settled in Milwaukee. There, she worked at Gimbelís and Schusters in downtown Milwaukee, checking in inventory for about 12 years. In 1981, they settled in the town of Polk, making that their home.

Margarete enjoyed different hobbies, including knitting, gardening and rosemahling. She also was active in various outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, swimming, fishing and camping. She would also meet with friends of a "kaffe klatching" group on a regular basis.

Survivors include Erich, her spouse of 66 years; three children, Juergen (Chris) of West Bend, Rainer (Barbel) of Anchorage, Alaska, and Hans-Ulrich of Port Orchard, Wash.; seven grandchildren, Christian, Joshua, Stephanie, Angie, Kurtis, Michael and Jonathan; four great-grandchildren, Xander, Eric, Ryan and Caitlin; other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by eight brothers and sisters.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, Dec. 27, at noon at St. Peterís Catholic Church in Slinger with burial of the cremated remains at a later date in Diefenbach Corners Cemetery. Visitation will be at the church only on Monday from 10 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. Masses or memorials are appreciated.

The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family. Online-guestbook and condolences available at

The family would like to express a sincere thank you to everyone at Serenity Villa and Allay Home and Hospice for the care and kindness given to Margarete.