Cover photo for Helen Marie (Forsgren)  Hokenson's Obituary
Helen Marie (Forsgren)  Hokenson Profile Photo
1932 Helen 2023

Helen Marie (Forsgren) Hokenson

October 17, 1932 — August 15, 2023

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Helen Marie Hokenson (nee Forsgren) entered into the joy of the Lord on Tuesday, August 15, 2023. For the past decade Helen was struggling with the difficulties of Alzheimer's. Since May 2021, she has been lovingly cared for by the Hospice and Nursing Staff in the Memory Care unit of the Fountains at Bronson Retirement and Care Home in Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo, Michigan (MI).  She and husband, Rod, had moved from Adrian, MI four years ago to be near son Greg and family, residents of the Kalamazoo Stuart neighborhood. As resident Grandma, frequent summertime visits and camping at Van Buren Park camping area meant Helen got to be one of favorite selves, that of resident Grandma when all the family would gather to love the outdoors and the Great Lakes.

Helen was born in 1932 in Alexandria, Minnesota (MN) to proudly Swedish parents, Hulda and Gustav Forsgren. She was the youngest child, sister to Ken, Dorothy, Howard and Ralph. Helen graduated from Alexandria High School and continued on to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, receiving her teaching degree in 1954. Helen married Rod Hokenson in April,1955. While Rod studied to become a pastor for the Lutheran Church, Helen taught elementary school for those four years in the Chicago, Illinois, and Lincoln, Nebraska areas.  They had four children, Gregory, James (d 2012), Stina (San Francisco Bay Area) and Steven (Miami).  Pastoral positions led the family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, MN, Hancock MI, Huntington Woods MI and then Hammond, IN and Connersville, IN before retiring back to Adrian, MI in 1996.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, son James, daughter-in-law Karen, and grandson Michael Hokenson. She is survived by her husband, Rod, and their three remaining adult children, daughter-in-law Adrianna (Steve), grandchildren Sarah (Eric) Therkildsen and Grace (Luke) Schneider in Kalamazoo, Jennifer (Matt) Henderson of Grand Rapids, Mark McRae-Hokenson of Seattle, Washington and Peter McRae-Hokenson of Minneapolis, MN, eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews across the Midwest and the US who always looked up to and admired Aunt Helen.

A lifelong soprano soloist and chorister, Helen appeared in many concerts, cantatas and in musical theatre on stage in Adrian’s famed Croswell Opera House, notably as Aunt Eller in ”Oklahoma.” She often assisted Pastor Rod in liturgies and special programs at Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Adrian, MI where they ministered for seventeen years. During 23 years of retirement in Adrian, Helen became an active member and leader in United Methodist Women. The most satisfying of her many leadership roles were with Church Women United (Michigan President), Michigan Ecumenical Forum and Southeast Michigan Synod Church Women (first President,1978).

As a board member in the local Lenawee County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, Helen initiated the ”Great Pasty Project” fundraiser and led that successful event for four years.  It quickly became a popular community fixture attracting hundreds of volunteers for 2 days each January, garnering over a quarter million dollars for construction of affordable housing with the Habitat program in 20+ years.

Helen and Rod travelled widely, in the early years with family (e.g. state and national parks), later in the Southeast and West coast, twice to Europe and once to Israel, cruises in the Caribbean and one especially memorable cruise, Vancouver to Seward, Alaska. All the while she was “super-Mom” not only to her own children but their friends also, all who freely visited the Hokenson homes.

Helen continued teaching in church classes and in public schools as a sub for many years. What a blessing Helen was, and now deeply missed by her husband, family and friends. ”Blessed are those who die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labors…well done good and faithful servant.”

Friends may visit with Helen’s family on Friday, August 25th, from 5:00-8:00 PM at Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Portage Location, 411 East Centre Avenue, Portage. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, August 26th at 11:00 AM, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1747 West Milham Avenue, Portage, with Pastor John Boley officiating. Interment will be held at Genessee Prairie Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to Lenawee Habitat for Humanity, Lutheran World Relief, the Maui Food Bank or any Maui Relief. Please visit Helen's personalized web page to sign the online guest book or leave a message for the family at www.langelands.com

To order memorial trees in memory of Helen Marie (Forsgren) Hokenson, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, August 25, 2023

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial and Cremation Services

411 East Centre Avenue, Portage, MI 49002

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Funeral Service

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (West Milham Avenue, Portage)

1747 West Milham Avenue, Portage, MI 49024

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

Interment

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Starts at 2:30 pm (Eastern time)

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