Helen Merrylee Wherley


Helen Merrylee Wherley (Olson) 88 passed away unexpectedly in her home 1/05/2023. Helen was born on her grandparent’s farm in Swanville, Minnesota 3/08/1934. When she was 7 years old her family moved to Duluth, Minnesota. Helen married Robert Clifford Wherley on 4/15/1952 in Duluth, MN. Bob and Helen lived most of their life in the Duluth Area with the exception of a 5-year adventure to Myers Beach, Florida with their 4 kids in tow. In Florida, they purchased the Siesta Isles motel as owner-operators. Returning to the Duluth area the family home was purchased on Grand Lake, Saginaw, MN in 1969 where Helen would live for the next 50 years. After selling the family home Helen resided in her home on Pike Lake with her beloved kitty Cooper until her death.

Helen was an avid reader, doll collector, and antique collector. She loved Elvis Presley realizing her dream to see him in person at his concert in Duluth, Minnesota 6 weeks before Elvis died. She would always comment how she and Elvis were the same age which made her the original “rocker” generation.

Helen gave of herself selflessly when it came to her grandchildren, she was the daycare for many of her grandchildren/great-grandchildren, and even when they were under the weather the door was always open.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Arnold and Winona Olson; mother and father-in-law, Freeda and Thomas Wherley; husband, Robert Wherley; brother-in-law, Richard Wherley; brothers, Lawerence, and Jerry Olson; daughter, Barbara Hakes.

Helen is survived by her children, Wendy (John) Purdiak, Michael (Jill) Wherley, and John (Kim) Wherley; sister, Victoria Olson; son-in-law, Chuck Hakes; brother-in-law, Thomas (Paula) Wherley; grandchildren; Lisa (Eric) Langlee, Keith (Beth) Hanson, Janelle (Jim) Hatton, Mathew (Jamie) Purdiak, Leah (Jesse) Hakes, Anna (Justin) Hakes, and Karlee Hakes, McKenzie Wherley, Josie Wherley, Ryan Jakubek, Deryk Koivisto, Kayla (Ben) Bergeson; and many great-grandbabies, nieces, and nephews.

Helen will be missed by her family, friends, and Cooper her faithful kitty companion.

Funeral Service will be 11AM, Thursday, January 26, 2023, with visitation one-hour prior, in the Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E 2nd Street, Duluth, MN 5580.

Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555, please visit to sign the online guestbook.

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