Helen Louise Bellach Peterson, beloved wife, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, and teacher passed away following a difficult battle with Alzheimer’s, on June 19, 2021, at the age of 83 to join her Heavenly Father.
Helen Peterson was born to Edna and Edwin Bellach in Three Forks Montana on May 29, 1938. She grew up in the Three Forks community, with her four siblings where her parents ran the plumbing and hardware store. She graduated from Three Forks High in 1956 and continued her education at Montana State University and Eastern Montana College. She obtained a 2-year teaching certificate and began her career. While already teaching, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Education in 1966.
She married Eugene M. Peterson of Bozeman on February 1, 1959. Her children, Shawn and Mistidawn, were the light of her life, and she spent years following their activities including many hours of t-ball, 4-H shows, county fairs, Junior Hereford events, Miss Teen pageants and FFA activities that took her across the state and US. No matter what, she was always her children’s biggest fan. She continued this role as she followed her grandchildren, Katya, Cole and Tasha, across the state watching soccer games and track meets, following their academic achievements, and cheering loudly once she was able to locate them by their brightly colored cleats. Through rain, sleet, snow and sunshine, she was always there.
Helen taught school for over 40 years. Her career began in Lewistown, Montana, but most of those years were spent teaching math and science to 6th graders in the Livingston School District. Her students remember her fondly even though she expected a lot from each of them. She took many of her classes on overnight trips to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone Park. She was an educator all of her life, and deeply believed in the value of a quality education.
On June 17, 2017, Helen married her beloved husband Al Tapia. Al and Helen loved each other very deeply. Together they enjoyed trips to California, Texas, Mexico and every place in between. Al was always able to make Helen smile and laugh. He brought joy and sunshine into her life and was a devoted husband and caregiver.
Helen was active in PEO and the Holbrook United Methodist Church, and loved hosting bridge parties. She spent countless hours volunteering her time in the Livingston community. She was blessed to be able to travel with her family including trips with Mistidawn to Italy, England, New York, and New Orleans, and a cruise with her sister Vi. She spent holidays with Shawn, Lisa, Katya, Cole and Tasha and traveled with them to Washington DC along with many trips to Oregon and Glacier Park. She always enjoyed taking friends and family to Yellowstone Park.
Helen is preceded in death by her husband Eugene, her daughter Mistidawn Nicole, her brother Edwin, and her sister Arietta. She is survived by her husband Alfredo Tapia of Livingston, her sisters Edna (Jack) of Anaconda and Violet of Portland Oregon, her son Shawn (Lisa) of Helena, her grandchildren, Katya, Cole and Tasha, and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial Services in celebration of Helen’s life will be held at the Holbrook United Methodist Church in Livingston, Montana on Thursday, July 1, at 1 pm with a reception to follow. Donations are recommended to the Helen Peterson Project, c/o Livingston Education Foundation, PO Box 14, Livingston, MT 59047, or to the Holbrook United Methodist Church. To view the tribute page and share condolences, visit: http://www.franzen-davis.com .