Cover photo for Helen Mae Frethem's Obituary
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1930 Helen 2021

Helen Mae Frethem

June 11, 1930 — November 3, 2021

Fosston, MN

Helen Mae Frethem, age 91, of Fosston, MN, passed away on Wednesday, November 3rd, at Pioneer Memorial Care Center in Erskine. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 8th, at Hope Lutheran Church in Fosston with the Rev. Jane Ekholm officiating. Interment will be in Hope Lutheran Cemetery, Fosston. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service on Sunday, November 7th, at the Carlin Funeral Home in Fosston. There will also be reviewal for one hour prior to the service on Monday at the church. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston and messages of condolence may be shared at

Helen Mae Larson was born on June 11, 1930, in Bagley, Minnesota to Harold “Rusty” and Mabel (Olson) Larson. She was the oldest of six children. She was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith.

The family lived in Bagley, Cass Lake, Walker, and Benoit before moving to Fosston in 1944.

Helen Mae graduated from Fosston High School in 1948. She continued her education at Bemidji State Teacher’s College, earning her teaching degree. She taught one year in Blackduck, Minnesota.

She was united in marriage to Alton “Fritz” Frethem on August 5, 1951, at Hope Lutheran Church. They made their home in Fosston and this past August celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary.

To this union, three children were born, Linda, Susan and Mark.

Helen Mae continued teaching in Fosston for 29 years. She mainly taught first grade. “To teach is to touch a life forever”, and she loved her students. Over the years, Fritz and Helen Mae together enjoyed dancing, golfing, fishing, bowling, and attending sporting events to watch their children and grandchildren.

Helen Mae also bowled for many years with the “Style Rite” team in league play and golfed in Ladies League. She was very good at both sports.

She enjoyed her ladies’ group; the Birthday Club, her daily walks, reading, and music. Most of all she enjoyed time with her family.

Her faith was very important to her. She was an active member of Hope Lutheran. She often read scripture in church and also volunteered reading at local care centers.

Helen Mae passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at the Pioneer Memorial Care Center in Erskine, Minnesota after just a three week stay. She was 91 years old.

She will be dearly missed by her family as she and Fritz continued to host holidays and birthday celebrations in their home.

She is survived by her husband of 70 years; daughters, Linda (Wes) Knutson of Crookston, MN, and Susan Christen of Fosston; and son, Mark (Renee) Frethem of Wadena, MN; nine grandchildren, Derek (Emily) Knutson, Sarah (Bret) Danielson, Aaron Knutson (fiancé, Anna Petry), Melissa Christen (Danny Goldsmith), Scott (Willow) Christen, Amy (Todd) Hiedeman, Jeremy, Matthew, and Jordan Frethem; and 12 great grandchildren.

Also surviving is one sister, Carol Smeby; and two sisters-in-law, Marian Larson and Phyllis Larson, all of Fosston; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Kenny, Richard “Red”, and David; and sister, Barbara Henderson; brothers and sisters-in-law, Stanley and Vi Frethem, Glen and Gladys Frethem, and Alice and Gene Emmons.

Blessed  be her memory.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen Mae Frethem, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, November 7, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Carlin Funeral Home-Fosston

417 6th St NE, Fosston, MN 56542

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, November 8, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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