Helen Fauerbach Symes, 91, passed away on August 30, 2021, due to congestive heart failure.
A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Helen was the daughter of Helen and Dr. Louis Fauerbach, MD. She graduated from Madison West High School in 1948 and earned a BS degree in Home Economics Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1953.
After marrying Rolf Killingstad in 1951 and while raising three children, she volunteered tirelessly for many Madison organizations including the Attic Angel Association, Grace Episcopal Church and the Madison Civics Club. She also served for many years as a judge for the Wisconsin State Journal’s annual reader cookbook contest and taught foods and nutrition classes at Madison Area Technical College.
Helen returned to college after her children were grown, graduating in 1983 with an MS in Life Sciences Communications from the UW’s College of Agriculture. She immediately went to work for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture marketing Wisconsin products via what was then the newly inaugurated Something Special from Wisconsin project, which promoted approximately 500 Wisconsin-based businesses, as well as working closely with the Alice in Dairyland program. In this capacity, Helen marketed Wisconsin food, beverage, forestry and tourism products. One of her favorite successes was bringing together the states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota to market wood products to the international furniture marketplace.
She retired from this position in 1996, and in 1998, she and her husband, Russell W. Symes moved to Green Valley.
In her free time, Helen enjoyed cross-country skiing, sailing, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and social dancing. For many years, she and Russ taught Sunday school classes to preschoolers at their church. Sadly, after 25 years of marriage, Russ died of Alzheimers in 2019. While Helen’s health had also been failing for several years, she was a fighter. Her love for her family, her overall curiosity about life and her indomitable faith kept her going.
In addition to her parents and her husband, Helen was preceded in death by her sister, Greta Meyer, and her son-in-law, Rev. Canon James R. Braun. Those left behind to cherish her memory include her daughters Anne L. Holmes (Stephen) and Karen E. Braun, son Eric P. Killingstad (Janet), eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
To honor her memory, a Celebration of Life service was held at St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church, Green Valley.