Helen Kirkland

Our loving mother Helen Kirkland passed on January 1.  She was born Helen Frydendall in Forest Grove and spent all of her 93 years in Washington and Multnomah counties. 

Helen graduated from Lincoln High School and worked for Republic Pictures in Portland. She met and married her life's love John Kirkland and she became a full time mother and wife. Together they raised three children in SE Portland. She was happiest at the beach, on the sand clamming or in the surf fishing.  She loved her womens bowling league and DIY projects around her home. Together John and Helen spent time at auctions, estate sales, and second hand stores acquiring furniture, clocks, and rugs to furnish their Mt.Tabor home. She was a great cook, hosting many special dinners for neighbors, friends and family.

The single most important thing for Helen was her family, and having everyone at the beach cabin was a particular joy. She’d make big breakfasts to start the day, and a salmon dinner to finish it. She was a devoted daughter to her parents Chester and Frances Frydendall. She was especially proud of her family roots in Banks and Manning and often recalled depression era stories of ‘doing without’. She loved telling the story of tap dancing as a child for the lumberjacks at the old Dingheiser Tavern in Banks. Those hard years left a lasting impression and Helen was forever grateful for the abundance that she enjoyed as an adult.

Helen worked hard in the home but was a career woman at heart. She returned to work when her kids were young, working for Robertshaw Controls and then for UMTA Trust for almost 30 years, until her eyesight forced her full retirement at 75 years old.  

She was always our biggest cheerleader and sometimes our vocal critic, but you knew her love was unwavering. She fought hard and bravely against her Dementia diagnosis. In her final years “family” included her pups; Annie and Chloe.  She adored her ‘girls’ and they gave her constant companionship and love.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband John Kirkland and her daughter Katherine Kirkland Brown. She is survived by her son Jim Kirkland and daughter Suzanne Kirkland, sons in law Jeff Alstot and Allyn Brown.  Her grandchildren Ian Bald, Jenny Digby, Jonathan Kirkland, and her great grandson Lelan Digby.

In Helen’s memory, the family encourages donations to any dog rescue organization or the animal shelter of your choice.