In Loving Memory
Helen Margaret Faust Blackledge
1 Nov 1943 -  5 Mar 2006

Helen Margaret Faust Blackledge
Helen Margaret Faust Blackledge, the former Marble Lady of Albuquerque, will miss family and friends and laughter and stories and crossword puzzles and hummers and doggies and huevos rancheros and verbena and cacti and sunshine and doo-wop and loving and smiling and CSI and Law & Order and Hershey’s milk chocolate with almonds.  Helen was born 1 Nov 1943 in Silver City, NM to Jerry Willard Faust II and Helen Elizabeth (Brand) Faust.  She died peacefully at her home in Albuquerque on Sunday, 5 March, 2006.  Here Helen's friends and family share memories of her.  We will not forget her.  We love her always.
A Tribute to Helen Faust Blackledge
            How should we remember
                 How shall we praise
            One who touched our lives
                 In so many ways

          A friend to Gerry
                 And Pat and Sue
            And to Jodie
      And to Flois (whom she called Teeny) too
          Sister to Annabeth
                 Jerry, John, Joe, and Bill
            Aunt to Bob, Tawny, Ivy,
                 And to Stazie Engel

          Mother to Doug and David,
                 And to Robin and Trish
            Grandma to Charlene and Ian,
                 Who fullfilled her family wish

          And for 40 years,
                 Mike’s companion and spouse
          As they  journeyed from the Pentagon,
to Las Vegas, and finally this house

           From their many sharings
                 Her nicknames were rife
            She was his Helena, his Moo,
                 His "Woosey Woosey Wife”
           Friend, Sister
                 Mother, Wife
            Each of you filled in Helen’s
                 Crossword Puzzle of Life
            For whenever there was need
                 Or a burden to bear
            One thing was certain
                 Helen would be there

        Whether bruises to heal
              Or Spirits to lift
         She never would tire
              Giving was Helen’s gift

         With a smile and a spirit
              As soft as a dove
         But a laugh that even
              A lumberjack would love
         So the way we remember
              One so dear
         Is the legacy of love
              She left in each of us here

by Peter Blackledge
    Presented at Helen's Open House
 -  March 19, 2006  -

Helen Faust Blackledge
Memorial Reception

Sunday, March 19, 2006

           The biggest and most shocking news we all received on March 5th 2006 was the very

         sudden death of Helen.
           She became such an important and dear member of the Blackledge family almost  
         immediately after she and Mike were married, over thirty years ago. She was      
         gorgeous, smart and funny and we all fell for her.
           My first remembrance of her was what she decided to call her new father-in-law.
         My Dad was dear and fun too but after all he was the patriarch of a good-sized familly
         and had a very distinguished career in the Navy retiring as a Captain. So of course,
         he was used to taking charge and being obeyed - you know: when I say jump (you
         say): How high, Sir! Still there was the twinkle in his eye. Helen decided after some
         thought she’d have her own name for him -- POPS !    I think we all gasped at first. 
         Pops loved it and she was in.
           When Mike returned from Viet Nam he was stationed in Washington D.C where
         the Tiptons (that’s me) lived.  We asked them to stay with us while they looked for
         a place to live.  Doug was the third member of the family and about two or three years
         old at the time.  One night, our dinner ready and on the table, we all sat down, all
         except Doug, who was totally immersed in the television show Sesame Street. He was
         called several times but did not respond.  Helen insisted he come - but just as soon as
         that thought came to her another one came also. This TV Show was a learning
         experience for Doug and here his Mom was dragging him away. She immediately
         leaped up to go to him trying to keep his attention on the program.  However she had
         lost the momentPoliteness and dinner were served but Helen felt awful about that

           In due time they found a house not too far from us.  Helen was so appreciative of
         staying with us at this time that we decided as a “paying back” they would help someone
         else who needed a place to stay as they looked for their own house. And that”s
         what they did.  Friends came to town with a little girl and moved in with Helen and
         Mike while they looked.
           During their stay the man had a birthday.  Wicked Helen baked a birthday cake for him  - one to end all birthday cakes. On this good-sized sheet cake pan she created, in frosting, the birthday man. This frosted image was nude - muscular and complete with all the proper male parts. Simply fantastic!
           She was the first person I knew who had artificial nails. They were long and colorful and gorgeous. She also tried add-on eye lashes but this didn't last too long.

           We’re all going to miss her.  We used to exchange information about the recent  books we were reading.  It was always fun and interesting being with Helen.  I know she will have a wonderful time in heaven, and she’ll be Ioved by all.

   In Loving Memory
      Barbara Heartfield
The Balloonist's Prayer

May the winds welcome Helen with softness.
May the sun bless her with his warm hands.
She flew so high and so well
that God joined her in laughter
and set her gently back into
the loving arms of Mother Earth.
Presented by Elza (Skeeter) Paul at Helen's Open House, Albuquerque, 19 March 2006
         Dear Mike,
         Pat and I are so sorry to hear of Helen's passing. We send our deepest sympathy to you
         and your family. During difficult times it helps to know that others care. We just want
         you to know we care and we’re thinking of you.
         I remember the first time I meet Helen at the old Manor.  There was something about her
         great smile that drew you to her.  That day I bought my first marbles from her.  I didn’t
         know a good marble from a good bead.  I bought twenty Chinese game marbles for 10
         cents each.  I was such a big spender.  I bought them because of her great passion for
         collecting and her wonderful personality.  From that day forward I continued to buy more
         and more and more until I owned them all.  What fun it was to visit with her and talk
         marbles.  What a strange feeling not to have a local place to barter and buy marbles. She
         will always be “THE MARBLE LADYto me.
         Helen not only gave me knowledge of marbles but also jewelry and other antiques and
         collectables.  What a sharing generous lady she was.  I wish I had kept contact with her
         more after we closed the Manor.  I’ll use my transplant for an excuse, but the reality of it
         is I didn’t take the time.  How sad.  Like you I will remember the puzzles, the smile and
         most of all the infectious laugh.  I loved it most when I could get her laughing so much
         that she would snort.  She would be a little embarrassed and we’d all chuckle.  What a
         wonderful gal.
         We want you to know that we loved Helen and she will be with us forever.  If there is
         anything we can do for you or your family  let us know.  With your permission we would
         like to bring on the 19th a bowl of Helen’s “Marble lady of Albuquerque” marbles that she
         had manufactured so everyone can take a little bit of Helen home with them.
         With Sympathy and Love
         Pat and Gerry Colman

         PS    I do hug  my wife more now.                                                               3-12-2006
Uncle Mike ~
I've probably drafted some form of this letter in my head 90 times - perhaps more.  I have wanted to say a couple of things to you re: Aunt Helen's passing, but did not want to be insensitive or dredge afresh feelings of sorrow, etc.  I'm happy you have found companionship in Bonnie...I trust she is worthy of The Blackledge Wit, Charm and, of course, NOSE!!
It's been almost 2 years since Aunt Helen's passing, and I still feel the need to let you know a few heart ponderings that I have held hidden until now.  I will attempt to be brief (a minor miracle!), but please allow me to share my heart for a moment- as even now tears still find their way to my eyes. 
When I first heard of Aunt Helen's passing, I was in shock...disbelief...stunned silence.   I am not certain as to the rationale behind my profound pathos, but it, for whatever reason, did more than to just "take the wind out of my sails".   I didn't get to "say Good-bye".  I didn't get to thank for her years of kindness to this child that were absolute acceptance and joy in essence and formative in nature.  I knew that if I, a "mere" nephew, was feeling such loss,  were those directly within the family unit.  I realized anew the tie of Family.  I mourned.  Restlessly.  I hurt for you and the boys, their wives and children-  even though separated by 1000's of miles, years, likes and dislikes, I felt great loss.   I would never see her again.   Things had changed and there was nothing I could do about it.   Or so I thought.  As time passses, things tend to take on a different, perhaps fuller, light.  The realization began to dawn upon me that Aunt Helen was, in a sense, I could see her...sense her intelligence...and acceptance...even her foibles- in my memories.  I, true to the Blackledge side of me, had for years told some of my favorite anecdotes regarding her to people that never met her- people she would never know.  I told of her boutique business/junque happiness (that's where I got mine from? Transgenetics? Osmotic mimicry? Ah well, I digress), and the marble she gave me (now if I could only find the rest of them :)   I told about the time she mistakenly fed me poison, thinking it was medicine, then in horror read the label, immediately gave me epicac, saying, "Good, honey, now throw up...good job!"  (Even now I don't think Mom believes me).   I told of how she allowed Douglas and I to go "exploring" in the hinterhills behind your house, rock climbing, skiing, etc., etc.  Even now, I think of how she praised me and made me feel valued- even as a young child, I was deeply impressed by this.  It, to no small degree, had a hand in making me who I am today.   In retrospect, I see the value of Family Stories ("Heeerrreee Moooookkk!!"), and how they serve to both familiarize and galvanize fidelity, love, appreciation and acceptance of one another.  I have passed some of these stories to my children, and so Aunt Helen lives them.  As do you.  And Fat Nose.  And Big Woody.  And the Twins.  EVERYONE.  The sum greater than the whole.  And therein lies the beauty.  For well over a year, I have thought my letter was way too late...and, as day slipped into day and week turned into month, my shame of inactivity- of not reaching out to console you and the boys (et al) in a more timely fashion only served to cause my sense of shame to mount...but, right now, it feels (at least to me) right on time.  I sense Aunt Helen's "wink".  May the Spores/Spirochetes/Saplings as well as Siblings continue to relive our Blackledgery with the grace and understanding that bespeak of true love (warts and all!) in celebration of the inherent nobility that came from ADB's loins...and Missy's.  May our love for one another sustain our Family - even in hard times and differences.   I love you, Uncle Mike.   I ask, in humility, that this letter be forwarded to the Siblings.

Dear Mr. B, I am so glad you created this tribute for Mom.  She will  
never be forgotten in my mind.  What an incredible friend she was to  
me.  I remember when I did things like drinking beer and vodka in  
middle school from behind the bar in your house.  Helen busted Doug and  
I - wasted in your house.  She got mad at us, scolded us but never told  
my mother.  Whew that was a relief.  She always treated me as if I was  
one of hers.  What a kind heart and a beautiful person.  She will always be loved!

   I am happy that you are moving forward and have met someone new.   Do  
lots of whatever makes you most happy.   I hope for all my friends and  
family that we choose to do things that make us smile.   As we have  
learned "life is just too short" !   Especially when the important things  
in our lives are taken from us unexpectedly.  
your friend Paul Martinez
Sue's card

Dear Mike and Family,

I have not been able to bring myself to call or write you.  I have never had anything hit me this hard.  I think of Helen many times a day, every day.  Maybe it is because I was not here when it happened?  Please do not think that because you have not heard from me that I have not felt your pain.  I am so sorry!  She will not be forgotten!  She was my friend, my partner, and like a sister.  I will always remember our good times.

With Much Love,
Hi, Mike...I hope that you remember us...we rented booths from Helen some time ago.  Gerry told us about her death, and we are so sorry.  She was so much fun, and really kept us laughing!  I remember being in a really foul mood one day, and I stopped at the Manor when it was on Eubank/Indian was not my day to work, but I needed cheering up!  Helen had me laughing in about 5 minutes, by telling me stories of things and people that she had met and endured in her life!  What a woman!  I know that you miss her, and I hope that you will be eased by knowing how much she meant to so many people...what a sweetheart!  When I think of her, I think of her beautiful smile, and caring laugh...she was great!  Take care of yourself...we think of you often. ...give your sons our condolences, too...they were life to Helen!
Love, Alta and Rob Turner   
Dearest Mike ~
My mom passed on the news about your wonderful wife, Helen.  Don and I send our love and prayers to you and your family.  If we can do anything to help please do not hesitate to call.
I can honestly say that I can not recall a time when Helen was not laughing or making someone else laugh.  I can still see her warm smile and hear her infectious laugh.  I am thankful to have seen and introduced my husband and son to you both in Laughlin, NV, last year.
Much love,
 ~ Don, Erika and Hunter Yu
i thank you God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

ee cummings
Presented by Annabeth Balance at Helen's Funeral Ceremony, Santa Fe, 16 March 2006
Dearest Michael ... So very dearest Helen ...
My heart lies heavy at news of Helen's illness. I, who am rarely at a loss for words, find myself struck dumb by the inexorable nearing of Helen's passing.
Helen, my dear sweet sisterfriend ... you have brought so much love and caring into my life ... From the moment we met, you drew me gently into your circle of family and fun and laughter and stories and puzzles and hummers and doggies and cactus and sunshine and laughter and hurting and loving and laughter and smiling and family and ... ... ... you loved the sister I called my own true love and life partner ... and loved me for loving her. And I felt loved and accepted and included in another family that soon became my own ... You laugh at my stories and worry quietly about our money spending ways ... You cook for us, serve us, clean up after us, make a warm place for us in your home ... You welcome us into your hearth and your home and into the gentle sweet love of your own self ... and we feel nurtured and cared for and encircled and safe ... And we love you in return .. You and your own sweet lover Michael who circles you with caring and tenderness and loving and goofy jokes and his own wonderful brand of mind and intellect and valor and living-through-it-all and how-will-I-get-along-without-her and caring and tenderness and loving and ...
I love you both so very much.  And I feel so very blessed that you are in my life.  Gracias beyond telling ... Amazing Gracias, my so very amazing friend ... Know that my love and my thoughts and my prayers are with you through it all ... ... Elaine.                                                                                         3-04-2006
Dear David, Doug and Mike,

Pete called me last night to tell me of Helen's sudden death.  I am so sorry that you have lost such a wonderful woman in your lives.
I'm just so very glad that I was once again able to see Helen again just a few years ago when I was able to take a business trip to Albuquerque and spend a couple of days with Helen and Mike -- and get re-acquainted with David and meet his family.  But I am so saddened that I will never be able to hear Helen's wonderful laugh again.
I know that her strong spirit will live with you three of you for all of your lives --- and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to know Helen.
Love -- and peace to all three of you.
Barb                                                                                                             3-08-2006
         From: “Jorene Carpenter” ~jcarpenter@l>
         Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006
         To:  <Tricia ~ Blackledge. corn>
         Hi Tricia. I am “shirt-tail kin” from Grant County.  I knew Helen as we were growing up in Hanover when she visited her dad and step mom, Eva.   Eva and my dad were cousins.  Helen’s half sister, Judy Bayne, and I were cousins and THE BEST OF friends.  I have never gotten over Judy's untimely death while we were teenagers.  Eva and I remained very close throughout her life and I would always visit her when I was home.
         How very much Eva loved Helen.  Eva did everything possible to make Helen and Jerry feel a part of their extended family.  The ranch at Alma was great fun for all of us!  It was sad for all of us when Big Jerry had the horse accident at the ranch.
         Helen was always full of spunk and such mischief.   I wish I could have been reacquainted with her during our golden years.  My goodness she had some great accomplishments!  Your family has every right to be so proud of her.
         My love, prayers and blessings to all of your family.
         Jorene Turner Carpenter   
         295 2nd St. NW   Detroit, TX  75436
Helen is remembered  here  in photographs -
Helen's Wall
Helen's Photos             Helen's Obituary:     MS Word      PDF       Albuq. Journal
Interment:   Helen loved this beautiful state of New Mexico.  She was proud to be a native.  Born here, married here, spent most of her life here, died here and is now interred here. The family held a funeral service for Helen at 11 am Thursday 16 March 2006 at Santa Fe National Cemetery and placed her urn in Wall 1, niche C80.  The photo above is of the plaque for Helen's niche; the panorama below, created by son David, represents "Helen's view" from that niche - from her grandson Ian racing toward her on the left, to her husband Mike and sister Annabeth to her right. 
    map (search for National Cemetery near Santa Fe)

Open House:   Helen wanted us to get together for a fun party in her memory.  Helen's friends and family celebrated Helen's unique spirit and lasting memory on Sunday afternoon 19 March 2006 with Hostesses Robin Blackledge and Tricia Blackledge.
Contributions in Helen's name were donated in accordance with her wishes to
6209 Hendrix NE,  Albuquerque NM 87110    phone:  (505) 881-3363


Helen loved all of her dogs ...  Missy, Blackie, Quattra, and Seamus ...  here is her tribute to Blackie.


Posted:  Mother's Day 2006.   Updated:  Memorial Day 2006.   Most recently extended:  22 April 2008.  

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