Helen grew up on a farm with seven siblings in Wellington, Texas. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in vocational home economics. In 1941, she married a neighbor boy, Robert “Bob” Stuart Foote. They moved to California, where Bob worked for Vultee Aircraft during the war.
Just after World War II ended, the couple moved to an almost deserted mining town named Frisco, where they would make a go of it by renting cabins to fishermen, hunters and tourists. In April 1946, they opened ‘Foote’s Rest’ on Main Street which consisted of a post office, general store, gas station and cabins that still sit on the property off 5th & Main Street. Their thriving business functioned as the social center of Frisco. The store was one of very few places in town that had telephones; it was the central location for messages and information. Townspeople gathered here to discuss recent happenings as they waited for mail to arrive.
Helen watched the Frisco community grow. In the early days of living in Frisco, there were fewer than 100 people residing there. Helen quickly got to know all the residents and welcomed people into their home. Helen’s ability to make people feel right at home, with an open door and with an open heart, is a legacy she left.
In addition to raising their four children and running the business on Main Street, in 1958 Helen started teaching at Breckenridge High School, a career which lasted 22 years. She taught home economics and was credited with the opening of the first home economics department. Helen served as a School Board Member and Frisco Town Clerk. She also served on the committee for the organization of Colorado Mountain College.
Helen was also one of the founders of the Frisco Historical Society (1983). In the early 1980s, in an effort to preserve the town’s past and work for its future, Helen joined Susie Thompson, Sue Chamberlain, and Lola May Bristol to move cabins and frame houses from around the community to the old Frisco Schoolhouse site. We can see her work today at the Frisco Historic Park and Museum, as the buildings and museum tell the story of how people lived in the early 20th century.
After retiring, Helen spent time writing, reading, and traveling. Helen is laid to rest next to her husband Bob at the Frisco Cemetery.