Thanks to the all Veterans, representative the Heart of Texas DRT Chapter and other DRT members, representative of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and all of the friends and family of Annie Helen Leifeste Olsen who came to the dedication of her memorial stone and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Medallion. We deeply appreciate you taking time on March 22, 2014 from your busy schedules to honor us with your presence on our day of remembering Annie Helen and how she touched and blessed so many during her life. We hold her dear in our thoughts and memories.
She was honored with a prayer, pledges to the US and Texas flags, reading of a bible verse, a biographical sketch and the unveiling of the Medallion. Annie Helen stories were shared.
Janice Olsen, Eric and Kelly Porras, Helen Kroh and Carol Utasi.
Annie Helen was born in Katemcy, Texas on June 10, 1916, to Robert Leifieste and Ruby Brockman Leifeste. She served in Army Air Corps during World War II repairing Norden bomb sights at Davis Monthan Air Base, AZ.
She was a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas through her Great Grandfather Johannn Heinrich Gottfried Leifeste. He arrived in Galveston, Republic of Texas, on January 10, 1846. He settled in Lower Willow Creek. Her grandfather, Henry O. Brockman was one of the first children born in the new county of Mason.
She attended Mason Schools (except the 2d grade when the teacher lived with them and she went to the one room Brockman School) until the 9th grade. They moved to Florence, Texas to take care of the goats owned by Nick Brockman. She graduated in 1934 from Florence High School.
Having been the car driver for her grandfathers and taking them to visit their children, she was ready to travel. Her Great Aunt Emma Brockman Goebel was visiting from Hollywood, California and needed someone to drive her back. Annie Helen was ready to go. She stayed in California a few months, taking a cooking class and experiencing an earthquake.
She found work cooking in a cafe. She was offered a job to be a chef for an oil company executive in Iraan, TX. She took the job and moved with the family to Tulsa and to Houston. From Houston she found her way to Long Island, New York. She worked for John E. Burton, budget director for Thomas Dewey who was running for the Republican nomination for president. So sure Dewey was going to get the nomination and defeat FDR, Burton his family moved to Washington, DC in Sep of 1940.
Helen moved into NYC and worked as a private chef. She went to Hofstra College at night to learn sheet metal and riveting. She was hired by Pan American Airways and worked on sea planes at La Guardia Airport.
She met and married Kurt Olsen, a native of Denmark. They both joined the services after the war started. After war was over, she used the GI Bill to attend jewelry school and cosmetology school. They lived in NYC and in Tucson before settling in San Antonio. She raised her two daughters by herself. She cared for her parents until their deaths in 1964 and 1966.
In 1966 she was hired at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio. She became the first woman to complete the Mechanical Technical Training Program. She was a machinist for jet engines until she retired in 1985. She returned to Mason to be near her brother, Oliver Leifeste, who had moved to Mason.
She visited her children, grandchildren and friends throughout the United States. She vacationed in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland with her daughter, Jan.
She joined several clubs in Mason and delivered Meals on Wheels for many years. She volunteered at the Thrift Shop for many years. When she was playing 42 and she was ready to go home, she went, whether she was needed for a table or not.
She was known for her green thumb growing flowers and gardens. She shared with everyone. When she could no longer keep her yard the way she wanted to, she sold her home. In 2008 she decided she needed to be closer to her daughter, Jan, and moved to Fort Worth. She celebrated her 97th birthday on June 10th and died on June 30, 2013.