|John A. Helley Sr., 68|
|Written by TRF Times|
Grand Forks, N.D. - Retired Lieutenant Commander John Arthur Helley, SR, age 68, a resident of Grand Forks, N.D., and formerly of Plummer, died on Friday, September 16, 2005 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, N.D.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 24, 2005 at the Plummer School in Plummer, with Rev. John Wollenzien officiating. Military honors will be provided by the VFW Club and American Legion of East Grand Forks Interment will be at the Brooks Presbyterian Cemetery, Brooks. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the Plummer School on Saturday.
John was born on March 1, 1937 to Kermit Clarence (Menzel) Helley and Helen Margaret (Fadden) Helley. John originally grew up in Plummer. On June 8, 1954 John entered the United States Navy at the age of seventeen.
John married Clara A. (Blaire) Helley on April 6, 1956. He had completed many tours of duty with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy. Serving abroad aircraft carriers Kearsarge and the Kitty Hawk, the First Marine Division and the Fleet Marine Force, Reinforced. John also went on to serve a tour during the Vietnam War. In 1979 John retained his High School Diploma from Pershing High School. He retired from the U.S. Navy after 24 years of service as Lieutenant Commander, Medical Service Corps. After formerly retiring from the U.S. Navy John returned to Plummer. He then enrolled at Bemidji State University of Bemidji. He graduated from BSU with both bachelors and masters degrees in Education.
After graduation he began teaching and coaching at Northland Community College, in Thief River Falls. A few years later he accepted a position in Wheeling, Ill. In 1984 John began teaching Naval Science and NJROTC (which was ranked the best in the Nation). He remained a teacher, coach and mentor for a total of ten years. In 1992 John was admitted to the Doctoral Program of Education at Roosevelt University located in Chicago, Ill. However, due to the decline in his wife’s health, he declined the admittance. In 1994 John retired for the second time and returned to Plummer, with his family. After returning to Minnesota, John was instated as the President of the Alumni Association at Bemidji State University.
John was very active in the community of Plummer. He served on the school board for two terms and also served as the town’s mayor for a total of four terms. John was very active as the Boy Scout Master and enjoyed working with the youth of the town. He and his wife Clara, also worked with the Special Olympics. He was given the title of “Minnesota Area Coordinator.” John was also a life member of the V. F. W., a member of the 40 and 8 Club, member of the American Legion, the Masons Club and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Association.
John was very committed to the communities he was apart of and therefore gave and participated in many associations.
John will be missed dearly by his five children, Helen (Dan) Dougher, Mary (Kevin) Kaullen, John Helley Jr, Kermit Helley, all of California and Barbara Bjerke of Plummer; and nine grandchildren. He is survived by his second wife, Helen (Lee) Helley of Grand Forks, N.D., whom he married on July 3, 2003; step children, Gary (Margaret) Lee, Debi Dietz and Mrs. (Dotsy) Johnson and family; and six step-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his fraternal/maternal grandparents; his parents; his wife, Clara A. (Blair) Helley who died on December 9, 1998; and his two sons who passed away during infancy.