A loving wife, cherished mother, and dear friend, Helen Marie (Jordal) Solberg of Chichester, New Hampshire, peacefully passed away in her home on November 16, 2023.
Helen was born on November 13, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York to Laura and Kresten Jordal. Helen was the youngest of five children. She grew up surrounded by friends and family in Brooklyn, and loved to spend time in the parks, pools, and public spaces of her community. As a first-generation American, her Norwegian-born parents worked very hard to provide for Helen and her siblings; Ingeborg, Alfred, Charlie, and Lillian. Helen also had a brother, Louis Saudland in Norway whom she loved dearly.
Helen graduated from Bay Ridge High School in Brooklyn in 1960. She enjoyed her early twenties working in the city and having fun with friends, many of whom she remained close with until her death. Helen enjoyed her single life, but a persistent Alvin Solberg eventually won her over, and the two married on June 22, 1968.
Following the birth of their first daughter, Kristine, Helen and Al made a big move to New Hampshire where they settled down in the small town of Pittsfield for several years where they grew their family to include two more daughters, Lisa and Ingrid. The young family made many new life-long friends and moved once more to the nearby town of Chichester, where they welcomed their fourth daughter, Sonja, and lived for more than 45 years. Helen and Al were incredibly loving and supportive parents, and created a welcoming home and refuge for anyone in need of a place to stay or family to be with during the holidays, and would host them with joy and generosity.
Helen and Al were very busy working and raising four active daughters. Helen often worked second or third shift jobs to help support her family, but also allow for her to be at every game, recital, play, and PTO meeting. She was a Room Mother more times than can be remembered, and volunteered her time generously. Volunteering and taking care of people was intrinsically part of who Helen was her entire life. She was always helping people, it was just who she was, what she did. From serving meals at the Friendly Kitchen, to driving friends, neighbors, or anyone in need to appointments, and to taking care of Al as his health declined, Helen was most herself when caring for others.
Helen had several jobs over the course of her career, but her most rewarding role was at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic where she met one of her dearest friends, and enjoyed helping the staff and families in the Pediatrics Department. She was full of life, funny, and very social. For several years, she enjoyed being part of the Red Hat Society with her friends and while they eventually stopped wearing the hats, they continued to meet and create their own “Lunch Bunch” which she cherished.
Helen was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and committed to keeping close connections with family in Norway. She played an instrumental role helping bridge the family across the Atlantic. She was fortunate to visit Norway several times to spend time with her brother, niece, nephew, and their beautiful families.
Helen was a fighter, beating cancer twice and overcoming many other obstacles, she seemed an unbreakable matriarch in the most loving and peaceful way. She loved to spend time with her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, whenever possible. She was a central figure in their lives, being a proud, loving presence at every big moment and spending as much time as she could with family to enjoy the small moments as well. She loved to play games like Scrabble, Dominos, and Rumicubes, and could be quite competitive. She was a great sport, but not usually one to let her children or grandchildren win, she wanted them learn fairness, humility, and kindness.
Nothing was more important to Helen than her family and friends. Helen is survived by her daughters and their spouses, Kristine Solberg Major and Christopher Major of Dunbarton, NH, Lisa and Sonny Green of Barnstead, NH, Ingrid and John Vien of Bay City, TX, Sonja Solberg Potter and Brian Potter of Marblehead, MA; grandchildren, John Vien Jr, Kirsten Keene, Justin and Katie Cove, Ashley Green, and Maren, Gwendolyn, and Boden Potter; great grandchildren, Tommy and Kairi Keene and Quinnley Cove. Helen is predeceased by her devoted husband of 52 years, Al Solberg of Chichester, as well as by her parents and siblings. Helen will be dearly missed by her wonderful friends and family from near and far.
Services will be held on Thursday, November 30th. Her family will begin receiving guests at 1:00 at the Cremation Society of New Hampshire Chapel in Boscawen (172 King Street, Boscawen, NH 03303) with a memorial service starting at 2:00. Friends and family are also welcome to attend the Interment at 3:00 at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery Boscawen.