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1926 Helen 2016

Helen M. Popnoe

November 8, 1926 — October 5, 2016


   On the morning of October 7th, 2016, Helen Popnoe 89 of Winifred, passed away peacefully of natural causes. Helen M. Popnoe was born in Glendive, MT, on November 8, 1926. She was the third child of John and Gunda (Kleppe) Secora. The family moved to Circle, and then to Big Sandy where she received her education and graduated from Big Sandy High School in 1944. Immediately following graduation, Helen joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. She completed her registered nurse degree at Montana State College in Bozeman in 1947.

     Helen began working as a surgical nurse at the Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls. It was there she met Howard Popnoe, and the two married on February 12, 1949. The couple moved to Portland, OR, where Howard began specialty training and they started a family. During the Korean War, Howard was recalled to the Navy and they relocated to Mare Island, CA. They returned to Portland after the war until Howard completed his medical education. With three children and a specialized degree, Howard and Helen returned to Great Falls to start a private practice. Dr. Howard Popnoe was an orthopedic surgeon, while Helen was his office manager and head nurse. Most every weekend they would travel to the family farm in Winifred. They continued working in Great Falls until they retired and moved to Winifred in 1988.

     Helen enjoyed life on the farm, especially the beauty of nature and the many different animals. She loved watching sports, whether it be a local kid’s rodeo or the Wimbledon championships on TV. She also loved playing with children, and she was an avid bowler.

     Helen is survived by her daughter Sue Tiffin of Missoula, MT; her son Jim (Kayna) of Montgomery, TX; her sister Lucy Courtnage of Big Sandy, MT; her five grandchildren, Justin (Jennifer), Michael (Rene), Clay (Allison), Ben (Megan), Leigh (Iden); five great-grandchildren, Nicholas, Adelyn, Brynn, Hypatia, and Prospero; along with several nieces and nephews.

     Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Howard, her daughter, Rosie, her brothers, Frank and Charles, her parents, John and Gunda, and a nephew, John.

     Funeral services for Helen M. Popnoe will be Sunday, October 16, 2016, at 2:00 p.m., in the American Lutheran Church in Winifred with interment to follow in the Winifred Cemetery. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.

     Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association or the charity of their choice. A visitation will be held Saturday, October 15, 2016, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Cloyd Chapel in Lewistown. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family and condolences may be posted online at


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