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Clara I. Piepkorn

Clara I. Piepkorn

Clara I. Piepkorn, 81, of 98 Woodland Drive, loving mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away August 2, 2014, at Bethany Retirement Living.

Clara Ilene Helling was born February 9, 1933, in Michigan, North Dakota, to Knut and Randi (Fauske) Helling, where she grew up and attended school. She was the third of a family of seven and lived on a farm south of Michigan until her sophomore year when her family moved to town. She cherished family closeness and felt growing up on the "North Dakota prairie" was such a rich heritage where she learned the value of hard work. She frequently expressed gratefulness for having been raised by Christian parents because they instilled in her a faith that sustained her throughout her life.

Claras dream had always been to attend Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, which she did. She graduated from Concordia in 1955, where she was also Homecoming Queen. Throughout her life she tried to uphold the high standards of the institution and live up to its powerful motto: Soli Deo Gloria ("To God Alone the Glory").

She married H. Donald Piepkorn in Michigan, ND, on October 14, 1956. Clara and Don lived in Fargo during their entire marriage. They were proud parents of one son, David. Don died at the age of 58 in 1989.

Clara taught music for eight years at Washington Elementary School in Fargo after graduating from Concordia College; she joined her husband in his Valley Chemical Labs, Inc. business, which he started in the early 60s. This business is now TruGreen. She sold the business to their son, David, after his fathers death but had been actively involved in the business until that time.

Claras love of children carried over to her directing the Bach Miriam and Crusader Childrens Choirs at First Lutheran Church for over 40 years, retiring in 2004. She counted it a privilege to work with children, our most precious possessions. She loved the opportunity of relating to them and knowing the importance of ones faith which was her guide throughout her life. Because she was indebted to the many who helped her in her "growing-up years," she wanted to pass that on to others. She wanted the children to have a strong belief in the value of faith in God.

Clara was very committed to the congregation of First Lutheran Church where she sang in the Cathedral Choir, was a member of Abigail Circle, along with many other church activities. Clara was also a member of P.E.O. Chapter AT, Fargo.

Claras highest priority in life was to be a faithful wife and motherand ultimately, grandmother. She also had what she felt was her extended family, her nieces and nephews and their children plus former choir students. They, too, were her passion. Their love and kindness to her over the years was so meaningful. She rejoiced in their successes and always tried to be supportive.

Clara also cherished her friends. She derived such courage and support from them. They were always there for her. She felt her friends were Gods way of taking care of her.

Another source of great pleasure was her Norway family. Because her parents (father in 1915 and mother in 1924) immigrated to America from Norway, most of her relatives were there. Over the years it was possible for them to visit family here and visa versa. Through those visits many close relationships took place that brought her so many cherished memories.

Claras involvement in the Hallinglag of America over the years earned her the Asbjorn Bakklien Award in recognition of her years of support in maintaining the Halling heritage in America; she received this honor on Friday, June 20, 2009, in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Both her mother and father were from the Hallingdal area and were active in the organization while they were living.

Survivors include her son, Fargo City Commissioner David Piepkorn (Vickie) and grandsons, Alexander, who attends Concordia College, and William, who attends Fargo North; sisters Ruth (Ken) Larson of Ames, Iowa, and Martha Sorenson of Roseville, MN; brothers Manley (Marlene) Helling of Fertile, MN, Milo Helling of Fargo, and Arthur (Phyllis) Helling of Roseville, MN. She was preceded in death by her parents, Knut and Randi Helling, husband, Don, and brother, Kenneth Helling.

The service was previously held

Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery, Fargo.

In lieu of flowers her family requests memorials be sent to the First Lutheran Church Foundation or the Concordia College Clara (Helling) Piepkorn 55 Scholarship Fund.

Condolences and memories may be shared at

(Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home, Fargo)