Helen Valborg Torkelson was born Dec, 3, 1923, near Strandquist, MN, to Carl and Ida (Rood) Torkelson and was baptized and confirmed at Hegland Lutheran Church near her home. She attended grade school at the Fir Schoolhouse, and graduated from Karlstad High School in 1941. Valborg attended LBI in Minneapolis for 1 year, followed by nurses training at Fairview Hospital in the Twin Cities, becoming an RN. From there she applied to the American Mission Society. This group had several missionaries working in Columbia, So. America. After attending language school to learn Spanish, Valborg went to Bogota, Columbia in 1948, working for 8 years as a nurse. After a time she saw a need to be trained as a midwife, so she came back to Kentucky where she studied for 6 months. After Columbia, Valborg moved to California where she worked in various hospitals in the San Diego area. During her time in California, Valborg helped an organization called “Foundation for His Ministry” which formed an orphanage and a school for children without homes in Mexico. The orphanage and school became an outreach to the Mexican people, and is still operating today. Valborg’s missionary heart also took her to China for two weeks, accompanying missionary Nora Lam. They visited prisons and spoke to the inmates, and held speaking events in the evenings in various communities. In 1963 she retired and returned home to care for her parents. She later returned to San Diego, CA for a time. Valborg returned to Karlstad in 2009 where she resided at the Meadows Assisted Living. She was a resident of Karlstad Healthcare Center for the past year where she passed away July 10, 2019 at the age of 95 years, 7 months and 7 days.
She is survived by one brother, Oliver, of Strandquist; two sisters: Marie Braaten, of Forman, ND and Louise Becker, of Warren, MN; in addition to many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents, infant brother Alfred and Norval, and sisters: Clarice Erickson, Thelma Thompson and Amy Fedje.