Obituary: Helga Roghers

April 29, 1943 – August 9, 2023

Helga Roghers (Gosch, Cooke), a longtime North Lake Tahoe resident and Austrian native, passed away peacefully August 9th, 2023, at the age of 80.

Helga is survived by her five children, Marita, Christine, Michael, Katherine, and Danny Cooke, three grandchildren with another on the way, as well as her long-time partner Ed Nattrass and their dog Hunter. She was home, surrounded by her family in her final moments.

Helga was born in Voitsberg, Austria, where she came into her youth. In her mid-twenties, she harnessed her penchant for languages and a desire to see the world. As she ventured out on her own, she lived and worked as a translator in Graz and Lichtenstein, then later as an au-pair in England and France. Shortly thereafter, she immigrated to the United States to begin a new chapter in her amazing life’s journey.

Helga’s career aligned with her passion for travel and linguistics, attaining a coveted role as an international flight attendant with Pan American Airways in the late sixties, then ultimately with United Airlines until her retirement.

Helga was hired by Pan Am Airlines in London in 1968, trained in Miami then became based in Los Angeles until she transferred to her longtime home base of San Francisco. She set the bar in her profession as a multi-language qualified flight attendant and frequent purser. Helga became part of a legacy crew when she worked aboard the first 747 aircraft ever flown, a Pan Am flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong, which took place on April 11, 1970. She worked tirelessly throughout her career which she proudly held for 39 years.

An avid hiker and outdoorswoman, Helga loved Lake Tahoe with her whole heart, it was a place in the world that reminded her most of Austria. She loved to gaze at and swim in the cool blue water, ski the world-class mountains, and to hike in nature with her partner Ed Natrass, her children, friends, and dogs. She always found joy, reprieve, restorative energy, and solace in the endless beauty that the wilderness surrounding Lake Tahoe had to offer her.

Helga’s kindness and generosity were felt by all those that met or knew the beautiful Austrian with a kind and vivacious spirit. She was a generous woman who took part in many philanthropic endeavors and loved giving back to her community. She volunteered proudly with the Lake Tahoe Chapter of World Wings International, was an active member and one-time annual chairman of the Lake of the Sky Garden Club Tour.

In her free time as a retiree, Helga loved to play cards with her family and friends. She was an ace at bridge, gin rummy, and schnapsen, just to name a few. This competitive spirit is one that led her to be driven and successful in many arenas of her life.

Helga was a dedicated mother who raised five children. Anyone that knew Helga would tell you that her ‘can-do’ attitude was matched only by her grace, poise, intellect, and charm. Her smile and warmth were effervescent, if she ever saw that someone was feeling down or unacknowledged, she would give a warm two-eyed wink and smile, just to let you know that she was there.

Helga will be endlessly missed, although her spirit will live on through her children, grandchildren, beloved partner, her dog, and all those that knew her best.

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