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Helen M. Hermansen

August 19, 1925 March 21, 2020
Helen M. Hermansen
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Obituary for Helen M. Hermansen

Helen Marie Hermansen

Orland Park – Helen (nee Werr) Hermansen, 94, a resident of Orland Park since 1998, formerly of Chicago (St. Thomas More Parish), passed away at home on Saturday, March 21, 2020. She is survived by her five daughters, Dorothea (Thomas) Frisbie, Michelle (Robert) Martin, Greta (James) DeAno, Margie (James) Williams, and Marie (Ron) LaCombe. She also is survived by her brothers, John Werr, Joseph Werr, and Charles (JoAnn) Werr.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Walter “Wally” Hermansen and her son, John Hermansen. She is also preceded in death by her parents, Helen and John Werr, and her sister, Margaret Werr She was the cherished grandmother of 13 grandchildren: Timothy (Anne) Frisbie, Charles (Megan) Frisbie, Emily Frisbie, Christopher Martin, Erik Martin, Christina DeAno (Daniel) Rortvedt, Laura DeAno, Jack DeAno, Jonathan (Samantha) Williams, Jennifer Williams, Keith LaCombe, Leah LaCombe, and Donny LaCombe and cherished great-grandmother of five great -grandchildren: Emmett Frisbie, Ashland and Elsie Rortvedt, and Adalynn and James Brent Williams. In addition to these immediate family members, Helen is also survived by many wonderful nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and cousins.
Helen Hermansen was born on August 19, 1925 to Helen and John Werr in Chicago. She grew up in the St. Barnabas Parish in Beverly and attended high school at Longwood Academy. She graduated from St. Teresa’s College in Winona, Minnesota. She raised her family of six children in St. Thomas More Parish. With all of her children attending St. Thomas More School and living only a block away, parish life was the center of her family’s life. When her youngest child was in kindergarten, she returned to teaching as a substitute in the Chicago Public Schools. She also went on to get a Masters in Special Education from Chicago State University. She then taught Special Ed at various Chicago Public Schools for 28 years including Drew, Barton and Garrett Morgan. She was awarded the prestigious Malcolm X Award for her dedicated teaching efforts.
“Mrs. Hermansen” loved teaching and treated her students as if they were family. All of her own children spent time helping her with her students – whether it was making yet another batch of sugar cutout cookies or accompanying the class on the myriad field trip outings she scheduled. Several of the parents of her students requested that she look after their kids after their deaths. “Mrs. Hermansen” did just that. After she retired, she continued to take care of some of her students by taking them out for a hamburger at Wimpy’s Grill at Evergreen Plaza, buying them much-needed supplies from Walgreen’s, buying groceries, just visiting and spending time with them, and even mailing Wal-Mart or McDonald’s coupons to them after they moved out of state. She loved them and continued to act as an elderly, caring relative. Until the time of her death, she had weekly telephone conversations with some of these kids – who are now in their 50s.
She moved to Orland Park and St. Michael’s Parish after the death of her husband. After she retired, Helen took her five daughters (in memory of their Dad and brother) on many cruises to the Caribbean. It was the highlight of their years.
Helen was a kind, caring and inspirational person. She touched the hearts of all who came into contact with her. She cared deeply about everyone who came into her life – whether a relative, a Special Ed student, a caretaker, someone at the health club, or a stranger on the street. Her strong preserving spirit not only carried her throughout her life but all of us, too. She had a deep unwavering faith that sustained her entire family. She was an amazing role model as she so gracefully dealt with life and all of the infirmities of old age and then death itself.
Helen was all about acceptance, love and kindness. She planted those seeds in all of her family. As in the Parable about the sowing of the mustard seed, we ask that you (in Helen’s name) continue to sow seeds of acceptance, love and kindness as you go throughout your lives. This is the best way we can remember and honor Helen Hermansen. Oh – and don’t forget to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to your family. That was her favorite song!
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again –
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to one of the following causes in Helen’s name: Brain Trauma Awareness Organization,,
4531 Maine Street, Suite A, Quincy, IL 62305, 217-222-1237, Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Circle,, 3659 W. 99th Place, Chicago, IL 60655, 773-253-3600, or Palos Hospice,, 15295 E. 127th Street, Lemont, IL 60439, 708-923-4000.

Services and interment private at this time
Family plans to host a beautiful celebration of Helen’s life at a later date 708-857-7878


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