Helen Wadsworth O’Connor was born on Aug. 20, 1919 in the small Panaca home of her parents, Milton Lafayette (Lafe) and Minnie Adele (Dollie) Hollingshead Wadsworth. The second of seven siblings, she was born into a loving family that enjoyed being together. She was a very inquisitive, happy child that loved to talk.
Growing up in Panaca was a child’s dream. She attended both grade school and high school and loved sharing her singing talent in the school and church plays, programs, and later in life singing at funerals with her mother, sister Myrtle Joy, and even later with her daughters.
She attended the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, earning a degree, and the Branch Agriculture College in Cedar City, Utah. She married Robert Edward O’Connor in 1943, had two daughters and later divorced.
She was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served two missions, the second in Hawaii. She loved to teach and taught in primary, Sunday school, the young women’s program and Relief Society for years.
Helen worked most of her life doing a variety of jobs, beginning right out of high school working as a soda jerk in her father’s and uncle’s soda fountain in the Wadsworth building in St. George. She worked in the office and the railroad yard of the Union Pacific depot in Caliente. She was a temporary administrator for the Caliente Hospital for a short time. Because of a shortage of teachers, she taught at the Lincoln County High School during the war for about a year, teaching students not much younger that she was. She was a bank teller in Boulder City for two years. After moving to Panaca, she worked as a secretary for both the Panaca Grade School and the Lincoln County High School for several years. Working for the Nevada State Girls School in Caliente was challenging for her but she worked there for 13 years.
After retiring she served for several years in the St. George temple. At the age of 93 she was still living alone in her little home in Panaca until health issues sent her to the hospital in Caliente. For two months she worked to regain her strength but was unable to do so. She passed away on July 5, and was buried July 11 in the Panaca cemetery. She will be remembered for her many qualities including her beautiful smile, her kindness, and her Christ-like charity.
She was preceded in death by her parents; two sisters, Myrtle Joy and Sharon; three brothers, LeRoy, Bruce, and Duane; and three grandchildren, Tina, Eric, and Christopher Lee. She is survived by one brother, John; daughters Linda Lee and Torrie Klomp; eight grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren.