Helen Bernice Beard, 91, a longtime Asotin resident, passed away peacefully Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, at the Sycamore Glen facility, after a long illness.
Helen was born March 6, 1928, in Boise, to Albert Leroy Clark and Mabel Margaret Wilson. In February 1939, Helen and five of her six siblings went to live with their uncle and aunt, Walt and Edith Wilson, who resided in the Langell Valley of Klamath County, Ore. She attended school in Bonanza, Ore., and graduated from Bonanza High School in 1946.
Helen was married to Charles Edward Akin Sr. on March 22, 1946, in Malin, Ore. Charles and Helen became the parents of Marilyn Ann, Charles Edward Jr., Robert Shane and Kevin Patrick Akin. Helen later married the love of her life, Ralph Everett Beard, Aug. 11, 1967, in Enterprise, Ore., and they were together until his passing in 2001.
Helen had an adventurous spirit of independence which took her to many places during her lifetime. In 1951, with her husband, Charles, and two small children, she spent her first of many years on the Snake River in Hells Canyon at Temperance Creek, where Charles worked herding sheep. She and Ralph would later return to work at the Copper Creek Lodge multiple times in the years between 1974 and 1982. Helen also traveled to Alaska, where she cooked for her son, Chuck, on surveying jobs throughout Alaska in the years 1979 to 1988, including David River, Circle Hot Springs, Kasigluk, Tuntutuliak and the Colville River on the North Slope. She wrote of her many adventures in the newsletters she sent to family and friends from the distant communities.
An avid collector, Helen most enjoyed hunting for antiques, blue willow china and campaign buttons. She developed an interest in genealogy and traveled to meet and share research with newly found family members. She wrote poetry and was a member of the Palouse Cowboy Poetry Club. She was a lifetime member of the Asotin County Historical Society Museum and shared her knowledge of the Snake River area with anyone interested. Helen was a supporter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a longtime member of the Eagle Cap Auxillary Post No. 4307 in Enterprise, Ore.
“A kind-hearted person, Helen always had a smile and an open door for family, friends and those who were yet to become her friends. She never met a stranger and could make you feel welcome. As a grandmother, she was always willing to listen and gave her heart when you needed it the most. Meals with Helen were special moments, and although the food might be simple, the time together sharing a meal are some of the happiest memories of the family. A strong spirit of determination helped see her through difficult times, and she loved to tell stories of her life adventures and the interesting people she had met along her journey. She enjoyed the Grange Hall dances of her earlier years and was known for the many Halloween costumes she created for Ralph and herself.”
Helen is survived by her sons, Charles “Chuck” (Tracy) Akin, of Anchorage, Alaska, Robert “Bob” (Shirley) Akin, of Golden Valley, Ariz., and Kevin (Beverly) Akin, of Fair Oaks, Calif.; her “unofficial” son, Chris Borgerding, of Joseph, Ore.; her grandchildren, Lisa Snodderly and Julie (Michael) Jackson, Valerie (Gary) Michael, Lindsey (Eric) Salazar, Jared (Jacqueline) Akin and Joshua (Rebecca) Akin; her great-grandchildren, Rowdy (Sara) Snodderly, Tyler (Yenni) Snodderly, Logan Jackson, Jude Salazar, Micah Laylah and Gabriella Akin and Ashlyn Akin.
She was preceded in death by her daughter, Marilyn Mooring.
Helen strongly believed that no one should ever go hungry, so the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials would be welcome, made to the Asotin County Food Bank in her honor. The address is 1546 Maple St., Clarkston, WA 99402.
A memorial service celebrating Helen’s life will be held at a later date and details will be published beforehand.
Arrangements are being handled by Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman. Online condolences may be sent to www.kimballfh.com.