Dec. 27, 1921 — May 2, 2019

Helmi L. Romppanen Netzel, a lifetime Clatsop County resident, passed away Thursday, May 2, 2019 in Seaside, Oregon, at the age of 97.

Born to Franz Oskar Winters and Anna Lydia Niskakangas on Dec. 27, 1921, she was raised on the family dairy farm in the Youngs River area. She was the youngest of four children.

Helmi attended Battle Creek grade school. She was very proud of the essay she wrote in the eighth grade vowing never to use tobacco in any form. It was entered in the county essay contest where she took first place. Helmi was a graduate of Astoria High School. After graduation in 1939, she attended Astoria Business College. Helmi worked as a bookkeeper at a local dairy co-op. On weekends, she could be found playing her accordion at Saturday night dances at the Olney Grange or Suomi Hall.

In 1942, Helmi married Veikko Romppanen. Together they developed a successful fishing business. She was an avid outdoor person. She loved to have her hands in the dirt planting flowers and vegetables. She was a member of the Seaside Sou’Wester Garden Club where she won best in show and best in horticulture for her beautiful pink cactus dahlia.

Helmi loved all animals and enjoyed seeing all the wildlife of the area. She never met an animal she did not like. She loved to bowl and golf and was a member of the Astoria Golf & Country Club. Helmi was an avid clam digger and an excellent cook. She had a genuine affection for “her kids.” If you are between 70 and 80 years old and grew up in Astoria, you probably were one of “her kids.”

Helmi was preceded in death by her siblings, Ina Heino, Uno Winters and Wayne Winters; and her husbands, Veikko Romppanen and, later, George Netzel. She is survived by her children, Sally Laine (John) and Dave Romppanen (Susie). Her grandchildren, Katharine Demeter (Victor), Christopher Shell, Kirsten Baker (Chad), Lisa O’Connell (Chris) and eight great grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held Friday, May 10, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Caldwell’s Luce-Layton Mortuary, 1165 Franklin Ave., Astoria, Oregon. Reception to follow at Suomi Hall in Astoria.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Finnish Brotherhood Building Fund in Astoria or the Clatsop County Animal Shelter.

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Cheryl Oja

Cheryl and I send our heartfelt condolences to you Sally and John and you David and Susie and to your families for your recent loss of Helmi. She was the last of her generation of Winters and we all mourn her death but we also celebrate her life well lived.
George and Cheryl Oja

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