11/01/2004 - "I don't think we should call her Grandma Helen, I think we should call her
Grandma Heaven . . . because she's so sweet!" says one of Helen Beard's "adopted"
"Grandma Heaven" has spent fifty-five of her eighty-nine years in Casper. She
won the hearts of four siblings whose grandparents live in another state. They decided to
"She makes a great grandma. I want to be just like her when I'm eighty-nine!"
says another of the four children.
Grandma Heaven was born in a sodhouse in Nebraska on March 9, 1915. Her
mother died of scarlet fever when she was ten and she lived with various relatives and
friends until she was married in the nineteen thirties.
"I was seventeen." she tells us. "He was my 'schoolgirl crush'! We met at church
in Longmont, Colorado when I was fifteen. At the time there wasn't even a high school
there because the town was so small. I had Dorothy, my first child, when I was eighteen."
Her husband pastored a church they built in Loveland, Colorado for eleven years.
They moved to Casper in June of 1949. "When we first moved here the area that is now
the Hilltop shopping center was just prairie. I'll never forget when Casper became home
to me. We took a trip to Loveland, and it had changed so much! When we got back to
Casper, I realized that it was home."
Grandma Heaven says that her fondest memories of her time in Casper were the
day they dedicated the church that she and her husband pastored for twenty-five years,
and the day her first grandbaby, Dwight Dean, was born. He is now fifty-three years old.
She also tells us that fairs and rodeos were highlights. "Especially with the children."
She and her husband lived in a house right beside the church. The house is no
longer there and the building that once housed their church is now the La Costa
restaurant. "How things have changed!"
Grandma Heaven recalls going frequently to Bennet's restaurant on the corner of
CY and Poplar, now occupied by Karen and Jim's Restaurant. She used to shop at the
Elk Street Grocery, which once stood in the current location of Johnny J's. Now Grant
Street grocery delivers to her house as she no longer drives. "They're very friendly and
obliging," she says.
Her husband was a hunter. When asked if they processed their own meat her eyes
open wide and she shakes her head. "Nooo! We used Indian Ice. They don't process
meat anymore." They still deliver ice to many stores in Casper.
All of her sons and grandsons are now pastors or missionaries carrying on their
father's legacy. Her pastor, Ron Blauvelt of Faith Assembly of God says, "Though she is
in her retirement years she continues to bless her church. Hundreds of people have been
touched by her life."
We asked Grandma Heaven to describe the most unusual thing that happened
during her time in Casper. "That was probably when they began to build the Eastridge
Mall." she says. "It was a very big deal."
"Casper is a great city that offers just about everything." she says. When asked
what she likes best about Casper she answers without hesitation, "The people! They're so
friendly. Everyone makes you feel at home."
Summing up her feelings about Casper, Grandma Heaven says, "It's just home!"