Helen Hertl

Obituary of Helen Clare Hertl

Helen Clare (Moore) Hertl was born on August 14, 1946 in Oakland, CA. She spent her early childhood in Oakland, spending a lot of time with her beloved Grandma and Grandpa Gray in their Piedmont neighborhood home. Later moving to Castro Valley, CA with parents Florence and Hal Moore, the family grew with the arrival of siblings Joe, Louise and Ray, whom she loved unconditionally. Helen spent most summers with her Grandparents up at Bucks Lake, where she would fish, hike, and later lead horse trail rides. Our family returned to Bucks Lake in the late 1970’s and now new generations have been hooked on the magic of that place.

After graduating from Castro Valley High School, she attended Hayward Beauty School and had her own apartment at the Bon Aire Apartments in Castro Valley, CA. There she would catch the eye of her neighbor, a dashing young Army veteran who’d recently returned from Vietnam, James Miles Hertl. The sparks flew and they were engaged just a month later and married six months later at Trinity Episcopal Church on October 22, 1966, which also happened to be Jim’s birthday. They would go on to share 56 years of marriage - a testament to love and loyalty through very good and some very tough times.

Making their home in Castro Valley, Helen began her 25 year long career as a Cosmetologist and Jim as a Salesman in the Electrical Equipment Industry. Pregnant with first daughter Julie in 1969, they followed close friends, moving “way out” to Pleasanton, where they purchased their Silver Street house. A few years later in 1972 they would welcome daughter Nichole (Nikki) into the world and Team Hertl was complete.

Life was full with kids, work and a busy social calendar - Helen and Jim were both very active in the local JayCee Wives and JayCee organizations (respectively) with fundraising events and creative social gatherings throughout the year. Helen loved dressing up (fancy or in costume), throwing parties for all kinds of occasions, especially if there was a fun twist (like her infamous “spaghetti spilling on the table feast” and the party where half of the guests were told to dress formally and half were told to come in pajamas). So many fun camping trips, festivals, parties, days at the PVC swim club, quiet evenings with dear friends and all the kids in PJs ready to snuggle in whomever’s bed was hosting while the grown-ups enjoyed themselves.

Helen began exploring a career change in the mid-1980’s and would earn her degree and become licensed in Respiratory Therapy, which was a huge accomplishment. Unfortunately an injury prevented her from working in a clinical setting, so she shifted gears and began a decade long career in durable medical sales, at which she excelled.

In 2002, Helen and Jim retired to Chico, CA where they immediately joined the Newcomers and a whole new universe of wonderful friends opened up to them. Their home was (and is) a light, bright, beautiful and comfortable place for loved ones to gather and enjoy themselves. She loved that home so much and we are all glad that we were at her side there when she left us.

Helen was very artistic and creative and enjoyed stained glass art, cardmaking, crafts, cooking, baking, reading, playing online games, among so many other activities. When she found something she loved, she went ALL IN. She had a beautiful singing voice and would sing along with her favorite songs, snapping her fingers and dancing (especially in the kitchen). Being with Jim at Bucks Lake, playing cribbage, sitting by the campfire, or floating on her air mattress in the sun was probably when she was most happy.

As most interesting and engaging people are, Helen was a complicated person. Challenged for most of her life with physical limitations and mental health challenges that would have defeated most people, she persevered. Times weren’t always easy, but we are all so thankful that, as a family we made it through the worst of times to find ourselves in a place of compassion, grace and acceptance. And so much love. We will miss her each and every day but know that the indelible marks she has made on all of our hearts will never fade.

She is survived by her loving husband James (Jim) Hertl; daughters Julie (Matthew) Ridgeway, Nichole (Tao) Stadler; grandchildren Alexander and Elizabeth Ridgeway, Tillie and Paulo Stadler; siblings Joseph (Linda) Moore, Louise (Pedro) Tamayo, Raymond (Karen) Moore, brother-in-law Joseph (Michele) Hertl Jr.; nieces and nephews Kenneth (Julie) Tamayo, Michelle Moore, Jesse and Jason (Lisa) Ackley, Sherri (Craig) Johnson, Stacey Hertl, so many more beloved family members, and friends that have become family.

A celebration is being planned for Spring 2023. Details to come.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Butte Home Health and Hospice


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A Memorial Tree was planted for Helen
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Brusie Funeral Home
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