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Birdie B Gilbertson

Birdie B Gilbertson

Birdie B. von Helmst Gilbertson, age 92 of Arkansaw, died Monday, February 5, 2024 at Mayo Clinic Health Systems-Rochester, MN with her family by her side.

Birdie was born on June 17, 1931 in Frankfort Township, rural Pepin County. She was the daughter of Alvin and Blanche (Bignell) Bishop. Birdie married Stanley von Helmst Sr. in 1948. Together they resided in St. Paul, MN and had five children. Stanley died in 1971. In 1986, Birdie met Emil W. “Bill” Gilbertson and they later married.  Birdie owned and operated the Bird’s Nest Bar, The Lone Pine and Harbor Lounge in Durand. Later, Bill and Birdie moved to Arkansaw, where she remained the rest of her life.

Birdie sat on the ARDC Board for Pepin County and served as President of the Porcupine Cemetery board for many years. She enjoyed gardening, canning and birds. Her family never left her house without something from the heart. Birdie loved her family and spending time with her grandchildren and most of all, God.

Birdie was loved by all that met her.

Birdie is survived by her children Sandra “Sam” (Marlo) Kaempf of Durand, Stanley “Butch” (Sandra) von Helmst of North Branch, MN, Patty (Tom “Sam”) von Helmst-Davis of St. Anthony, MN, Michelle (Randy) Dekan of Durand and Colleen (Rob Stewart) Thermos of Chippewa Falls, stepchildren, 18 grandchildren, 34 great grandchildren, 11 great great grandchildren, two brothers Larry (Pat) and Terry Bishop, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She is preceded in death by parents, husbands Stanley von Helmst and Bill Gilbertson, one great granddaughter, Clarissa Meyen and seven siblings.

Private immediate family services will be held and burial will be in the Porcupine Cemetery.

Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Durand, is serving the family.


  1. Charlie & Dawn Tiffany

    Dawn & I enjoyed meeting in the backyard to hear Birdie's honest perspective on life. She loved to watch Tyson & Tanner play in the water holes when snow melted in spring. Great neighbor.

  2. Barbara Gibson

    Sympathy and prayers.

  3. Rosa & patti martinson

    Mom and I send our love a deepest sympathies birdy was one special person to us and will be missed dearly.

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