RAPID CITY | Helen M. Zapp, 93, died Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 at Fountain Springs Health Care Center.
Helen Margaret Zapp was born Dec. 4, 1925, in Woonsocket to John and Lena (Fritschen) Zapp. She joined her sister Mary who was just 11-months-old. Helen and Mary attended country school together and graduated from Woonsocket High School in 1942. In the summer of 1942, Helen and other Woonsocket graduates went to Minneapolis and enrolled in a three-month crash secretarial course.
At 17 years old Helen was on to Washington, DC, for nearly 20 years of employment with the United States Navy Department. She excelled at her job and was a personal secretary to Navy Admirals. During her time as a Navy Department employee she and several friends spent a year working in Guam — another adventure. While in DC, Helen enjoyed competing in various sports activities, excelling in basketball. Her Navy employment was enriched by many lifelong friends. In the early 1960’s Helen left Washington, DC, and moved to Rapid City, joining three of her four siblings. She found employment with the United States Selective Service Department and was employed with Selective Service until they disbanded in 1973. Helen continued employment in the private sector until her retirement.
Helen excelled at learning and later in life decided to earn a college degree, graduating from Black Hills State University with a B.S. degree in business. Her comfort zone was always attending classes and she earned her master’s degree in business from the University of South Dakota. She was a Certified Public Secretary, also considering herself a Geography expert — none of us disagreed. During her time in DC, with limited funds, Helen always managed visits to her family in South Dakota. Her siblings remember receiving elegantly wrapped Christmas gifts, usually from Garfunkels.
Helen is survived by her brother, James Zapp, and sisters, Anna Zapp and Gertrude “Pete” Sigler, all of Rapid City. Also surviving are many close nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Lena and John Zapp, as well as her sister, Mary Knutson.
Helen was a perfectionist, independent, interesting, generous, and frugal. We loved Helen and she will be missed.
Visitation will be from 5–7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home with a 7 p.m. Vigil Service and Rosary Recital.
Christian Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Cathedral of our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery.
Memorials can be made to the charity of your choice.