Helga Mildred Ballantine

Jul 10, 1923 - Jul 3, 2014


Helga M. Ballantine

July 10, 1923 – July 3, 2014


Helga was born the 10th of eleven children. She is the last of 8 sisters and 3 brothers. Her father and mother came over from Finland through Ellis Island near the turn of the century. They settled in Northern Minnesota, in a small rural farm country in the town of Cook where they had a dairy farm.

Helga had a little bit of the adventurer in her and soon after graduating from high school, she ventured to the big city of Minneapolis. After working in Minneapolis for a few years, she traveled to Seattle, WA with her sister Helme. While in Seattle, Helga worked for Boeing building airplanes for the war effort for WWII (yes, she was a “Rosie the Riveter”). Helme moved back to Minnesota and Helga followed, however it was not too soon after that Helga, her younger sister Esther, and close family friend Wilma Custer left again, but this time for Santa Monica, California. Helga worked as a maid to a wealthy Hollywood family and also worked for Newberry’s dimestore and was able to see many movie stars from the 30s and 40s. A couple of years later, Helga moved to San Francisco and then finally settled in Sacramento.

Helga met Jack Ballantine on a blind date set up by friends. They both fell in love very fast after that blind date and were married within 6 months. Helga and Jack were married for 49 years before Jack passed away in 1991. Helga stayed home to raise the children, but went back to work for the Department of Motor Vehicles right around 1967. Helga worked for DMV in Drivers Licenses for 20 years with her beloved sister Esther working in Registration right across the street. Helga was also very active in the church here at Christ Community. She was very active in Life with Spice and also Sojourners. Helga and Jack had 3 children, Robert, Jacquelyn, and Cynthia, 4 grandchildren, Erin, Stacey, Cory and Nicholas, and 2 great grandchildren, Ricky and Lena. Helga is also survived by many nieces and nephews who fondly remember her as their sweet Aunt Helga and also their Auntie GaGa.

Helga was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease but was still able to be fairly active until her stroke right after Mother’s Day of this year. The family is so thankful that we were able to celebrate her 90th birthday last year and a really wonderful Mother’s Day this year before her major stroke on May 16.


  • sheila smith says:

    I was the first to call her auntie gaga. When I was very young I couldn’t pronounce Helga so she became my Auntie gaga. I will miss her.

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