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Helen Gourley Wasson

July 28, 1924 May 1, 2019
Helen Gourley Wasson
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Obituary for Helen Gourley Wasson

Helen Gourley Wasson, 94, of Seward, AK, passed away Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at Providence Seward Medical Center.
A memorial service will be held for Helen on Friday, May 17, at 3:00 pm at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Seward.
She was a child of the Ozarks and the Depression. Helen Joyce Gourley was delivered into this world by her country doctor grandfather Oscar Gourley in Bado, Missouri on July 28, 1924, her father Gaulford Gourley a farmer and skilled laborer, her mother Mary (Farley) a school teacher who loved Shakespeare. They raised nine children with Helen being fourth oldest. What they couldn’t grow, they got from the land eating squirrels, rabbits, possum, wild nuts, and berries. During the hardest of times they survived on water biscuits and water gravy.
Helen’s father taught her how to trap rabbits, and she checked her traps each day before dawn. Her mother taught her how to make a meal out of very little. Even during her last days in the hospital she made sure the family dog got any uneaten food. She learned the love of literature and poetry in her country school and could still recite throughout her life.
After business college in Springfield she went to California to work and met a blue-eyed Marine working in company security. Joe Wasson had just spent a year in hospital after being wounded in the Pacific. They were soon married and spent the next forty-seven years on an adventure. Joe worked for an oil company to start with and his work took them to Wyoming and Texas where their three children Dennis, Jennifer and Elizabeth were born. Joe later went to welding school and worked in plumbing and contracting. Jobs and Joe’s wandering star led the family to live in ten other western states, Joe and Helen building six houses themselves. Just before Joe passed away in Emmett, Idaho in 1994 he tried to get Helen to move to Costa Rica.
Wherever Helen lived she planted gardens, fruit trees, and berry patches. She was very active in the Methodist church, cub scouts, 4-H, school activities, and sewing. Helen believed in making your own life and your own entertainment. She was interested in so many things, she didn’t understand how anyone could be bored. For someone who started with a horse and wagon, Helen loved her computer.
Helen moved to Seward, Alaska in 2009 where she wrote her memoirs Ozark Girl. She loved the view of Resurrection Bay from her little apartment and her church family at Resurrection Lutheran. Helen lived independently before passing away May 1, 2019 at Seward Providence from heart failure at age 94. She once said she hoped she could be brave when it came time to die, and she was very brave.
Helen is survived by her brother Franklin Gourley (Houston, MO) and her children: daughter Elizabeth Wasson (Butte, MT); daughter Jennifer and Quentin Carr (Seward AK), their children Ann and Tony Sieminski (great grandsons Simon and Solomon-Seward), Joe Carr (Seward) and Erin Carr (Fairbanks AK); son Dennis Wasson and family (Kaneohe, HI) and many nieces and nephews.
Helen was so thankful for her extraordinary ordinary life. To remember Helen, spread kindness, help those in need, and take care of our planet.

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




3:00 PM 5/17/2019 3:00:00 PM
Ressurection Lutheran Church

400 3rd Ave.
Seward, AK 99664

Ressurection Lutheran Church
400 3rd Ave. Seward 99664 AK
United States

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