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Dr. Stanley Leon Helgeson PDF Print E-mail

Dr. Stanley “Stan” Leon Helgeson, Eagle River, Wis., age 79, peacefully passed away April 27, 2013, at his daughter’s home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He was born Jan. 23, 1934, to Leon V. and Mildred (Hook) Helgeson.

He is survived by his wife, Charlotte (Sue); daughter, Suzanne (Douglas Pauls); son, Scott (Catharine); five grandchildren, Laura, David and Erik Pauls, Austin and Hayden Helgeson; three sisters, Janet Thony (Leo, deceased), Audrey Cushman (Harold), Twila Thomas (Robert); and brother, Lyle (Diane).

He was an active member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Eagle River.

The author of this obituary is also the subject, in other words, I am writing my own obituary.

Stan’s first school was a two-room country school, one room for the first and second grades, one room for the other six grades.

The family moved to a different farm in March and his second school was a classical one-room country school, the Bohn School. The total Grade 1 through Grade 8 population  averaged around 25. Not all grades had students, depending on graduations, moves, etc. His class had three members, Stan and two girls, both named Donna Jean.

When Stan was in Grade 6 the family moved to a farm near Black Earth, Wis., and he entered the Black Earth school system. It was a single building containing grades 1 through 12. The elementary and high schools were operated as more or less separate entities. The high school of grades 9-12 averaged about 90-95 students. Stan graduated in 1952, in one of the largest classes ever to graduate from Black Earth High, 27 students.

Upon graduation he went to work for Bergum Brothers Builders, knowing  that there would be no work during the winter. At this point he took the wisest decision of his life; he convinced Charlotte (Sue) Bergum to marry him Sept. 26, 1953.

They had basically no money. Stan had no job and they were 19 years old. Against all odds, the marriage had been successful; on Sept. 26, 2013, they would have celebrated their 60th anniversary.

At the time they married, the economy was very poor and jobs were difficult to find. Stan got a temporary job at the University of Wisconsin that lasted through the winter.

Sue was convinced that he should go to college. This was a completely unthought-of idea to Stan. None of the males in his immediate family had ever completed high school; most had not completed elementary school.

In addition, there was the consideration that going to  college required funds, which they did not have.

The U.S. was becoming involved in the conflict in the area later known as Vietnam. Service in the Army was rewarded with the GI Bill, which would fund college expenses. They also knew that the GI Bill was soon to be phased out. Since he was already on the list to be drafted, a logical solution was to volunteer for the draft.

He began active duty in the U.S. Army in March 1954. His first year was served at the 5th Army Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., as an admissions clerk.

He was then reclassified as a Medical Records Specialist and was deployed to Germany where he served with the 7th Evacuation Hospital in Darmstadt.

He was honorably discharged from active duty in March 1956, but continued with the Active Reserve for another one and one-half years, earning his Sergeant rank.

The GI Bill did, in fact, fund his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a BS in 1960. He then took a position at Chippewa Falls (Wis.) Junior High School, teaching science.

The Russians had launched Sputnik and the U.S. suddenly realized that we had fallen behind the world in science, mathematics and technology. The National Science Foundation was offering grants at Academic Year Institutes for teachers to go back to college and earn additional credits, often including the Master’s degree as part of the package. Stan applied for and received such a grant at Arizona State University, where he earned a Master of Natural Science degree in June 1964.

During this year the University of Wisconsin offered a second-year institute designed for students who might become science education supervisors.

Stan applied for and received a grant, and began his study in September 1964. It was the case that this was also a starting point for potential Ph.D. students.

He was accepted into the Ph.D. program and studied under Dr. Milton O. Pella, graduating in 1967. He then took a position at the University of Toledo.

In 1968, he accepted a position at Ohio State University (Columbus), where he became Professor of Science Education and Associate Director for Science at the ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.

He was active in many professional associations including the National Science Teachers Association, Association for Educators in Science, School Science and Mathematics, and the National Association for Research in Science Teaching where he served as Research Coordinator and President.

He retired in 1995, and moved to Eagle River, fulfilling a dream.

At this time, with all my love, I must say thank you to my wife and family. Your love and support made life worthwhile and facing death possible. God bless you all.

Finally, I have had many blessings over the years and I thank  God for the marvelous gift of life. (SLH)

The family would like to thank Mercy Hospice, especially Penny, Lisa, Cindy, Rachel, Steve Strong, Chaplin Joe Cain and Dr. Ken Cearlock, for their compassionate care.

Special thank-you to First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids for their support.

Memorial Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at New Heights Lutheran Church, 1705 Center St., Black Earth, with the Rev. Curtis Everson officiating. Inurnment will be at Oak Hill Cemetery.

The Ellestad Camacho Funeral Home, 1710 Center St., Black Earth, is serving the family.

In lieu of flowers and green plants, memorials may be sent to Hospice of Mercy in Hiawatha, Iowa.



Tuesday, May 07, 2013 4:24 PM

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