Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Helen Walterskirchen Neumunz, 99

| September 26, 2021 12:00 AM

Helen Walterskirchen Neumunz, World War II veteran, passes at 99.

Helen Walterskirchen Neumunz,“ Skirsh,” a talented artist and gifted golfer, passed peacefully in Layton, Utah, on June 16, 2021, at the age of 99. She was surrounded by her children and family members at the time of death.

Graveside services with Navy military honors will be held at the C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery in Kalispell on Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. Family, friends and the public are invited to attend.

Born in Boston in 1922 to William Mathew Walterskirchen and Virginia Jean Marie McAuliffe Walterskirchen, Helen spent her early years with her family in Massachusetts while her father attended MIT, then they moved to Butte before settling back in Missoula, her father’s hometown.

Helen attended Paxon Elementary and St. Anthony’s School, graduating in 1940 from Missoula County High School where she was elected to the National Honor Society. Her talent for painting blossomed under the guidance of art instructor CB Bartholomew, winning first place in the state art contest and awarded a scholarship for her junior year of college at Montana State College in Bozeman. She placed first in the women’s state golf championship as a junior in high school. Helen was also editor for her school newspaper, which achieved national recognition during her tenure. She became the first female cheerleader for the high school.

Helen attended the University of Montana, graduating with a degree in fine arts in 1944. She was the president of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, as well as a member of the art honor society, Delta Phi Delta.

In 1944, Helen enlisted in the Navy joining the WAVES. After training, she was stationed in San Francisco’s 13th Naval district where she facilitated rapid messaging from Navy observers in the Pacific to the Navy headquarters in Washington, D.C. She was honorably discharged as a lieutenant junior grade in 1946.

Following the war, Helen traveled to New York City and attended Pratt Institute, studying interior design and graduating in 1948, followed that summer by study at the Fontainebleau school of art in France which ignited her lifelong love of European travel, its art and history.

It was during her time in New York that she met Army veteran, George Martin “Marty” Neumunz, whom she married in December 1948.

Helen and Marty settled in Oradell, New Jersey, where they raised their four children. Helen became active in local civic groups, becoming the first woman appointed to the Oradell planning board, serving for 14 years. She was also a member and chairwoman of the Bergen County Republican Committee, no doubt influenced by her mother, Virginia Walterskirchen, who ran for the Republican seat to the House of Representatives in 1958 in Montana.

While in New Jersey, Helen continued to pursue her passion for golf, winning the Hackensack Golf Club women’s championship six times. After moving to Hampstead, North Carolina, she garnered gold medals a record 19 times in North Carolina State Competitions, winning the gold in the National Senior games at the age of 87. Always with an eye towards self improvement, Helen designed and received a patent for a golf putter attachment in 1985.

Helen and George retired to North Carolina for 20 years, but eventually relocated to Utah to be closer to family, as well as their summer vacation home in Bigfork.

For all of her 10 decades that she’s lived, Helen always displayed an intellectual curiosity, a great appetite for travel, adventure and an appreciation for a good glass of Chardonnay.

Helen was predeceased by her spouse of 65 years, George Martin Neumunz, who passed in 2014.

She is survived by her four children, Ron Neumunz of Charleston, South Carolina, Nina Neumunz and her spouse, Marc Cohen, of New York City, Gregory Neumunz of New York City, and Mark Neumunz and Genevieve Frank of Layton, Utah;, five grandchildren, Tamara Davidson, Christopher and Kaitlyn Loverchio and Adara and Altaire Neumunz and two great-grandchildren, Owen and Helena Davidson. She is also survived by her brother, Karl Walterskirchen, of Pasco, Washington.