Helen Vivian O’Brien Braycich was born Aug. 25, 1928, in Baker to Michael and Catherine (Stern) O’Brien. She grew up on the family farm near Plevna, attending primary school in Plevna and Webster. Helen graduated from Sacred Heart High School (1946) and from the Presentation School of Nursing (1949) in Miles City. Helen loved caring for patients and excelled at bedside nursing and the friendships she made while in nursing school lasted her entire life. She gave up nursing when she married Joseph N. Braycich. The couple had four children who Helen was devoted to. The family lived in California and Washington State before Joseph joined the U.S. Foreign Service. This provided opportunities for the family to live abroad: in what was then Yugoslavia, Germany and Austria before settling and retiring in Brussels, Belgium.
Helen was involved in various charities, liked to travel, and had a circle of friends from many cultures and backgrounds. She was known for her inner strength, her compassion, particularly toward the most vulnerable, and her individuality. Helen loved people and they loved her, charmed by her curiosity, generosity, kindness and wit. In later years, Helen, who never
waivered in her faith, suffered
from serious health problems but she was always able battle her way back to her family. However, her last fight was lost early on the morning of Oct. 27, 2015, in a hospital in Brussels. A cremation service was held in Brussels Nov. 2, 2015.
Helen is survived by her husband Joseph; her children Martha Jo Braycich, Mary Ann Braycich, Michael Braycich, and Malena Braycich, as well as nieces Jeannie Huntley Rutherford and Patty Huntley Nelson; and nephews John Huntley and Jim Huntley.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents, and her six siblings: Catherine Huntley, Glenn O’Brien, Emmett O’Brien, Julia O’Brien, and infants Mae O’Brien and James O’Brien.