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Robert's Story

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The Helgerson family is celebrating the life of Robert Aven "Bob" Helgerson who passed away Thursday, November, 23, 2017 at Vista Woods Care Center at age 98 surrounded by family.
Bob was born May 6, 1919 in Miles City, Montana to Gladys and Oscar Helgerson. After spending his childhood years in Decorah and Red Oak, Iowa, Bob graduated Red Oak High School in 1936, attended Red Oak Junior College, and later studied Geology at Iowa State College where he met his "bride," Corinne "Connie" Baker.
In 1943, after gently pressing his professors to graduate early, Bob joined the U.S. Navy to serve on the USS Intrepid during World War II. During one of his many leaves, he and Connie wed on March 18, 1945 at First United Methodist Church in Ottumwa, Iowa. After their honeymoon, he continued serving in the U.S. Navy in photographic intelligence in Tokyo and Guam.
Following World War II, Bob and Connie came back to Ottumwa where he went into business helping to form The Baker Helgerson Baker Real Estate and Insurance Company. In 1954, Bob moved to Creston, went into banking and was active in the Creston community. In 1960, Bob and family bought Hedrick Savings Bank where Bob served as President and in other leadership positions. As it grew, the Hedrick Savings Bank moved to Ottumwa. Bob retired at the age of 90 as the Chairman of the Board. Bob and Connie traveled extensively around the world through Elderhostel Programs. In 2000, Bob and Connie were honored with the Ageless Heroes Award from Wellmark for their travels. Bob enjoyed belonging to several organizations such as Rotary Club of Ottumwa where he was a Paul Harris Fellow, Prairie Mutual Association, and on several boards including the board member for Ottumwa Regional Health Center and RC&D Pathfinders. He worked towards making life better for others.
He is survived by his bride, Connie, children, Martin (Becky) Helgerson of Ocala, FL, Nancy (Robert) Westlund of Des Moines, David (Sigrid) Helgerson, and John (Zoe) Helgerson both of Ottumwa; 15 grandchildren, Jesse, Nathan (Alba) Helgerson, Jill (Mick) Grove, Susan (Ryan) Nenninger, Sarah (Zach) Brummel, Katherine Lundberg (Sam Worley), Nick (Destiny) Merrill, PJ (Seanna) Merrill, Aven Helgerson, Andrina Helgerson, Elise Chang, John(Annie) Westlund, Betsy Westlund, David (Mandy)Westlund, Katie (Jason) Thrasher; and 16 great-grandchildren. As Bob made a lasting mark on his community, he is also survived by countless friends and loved ones. He will be forever remembered.
Bob is preceded in death by his brother, Austin.
Private graveside services and inurnment will be in Ottumwa Cemetery.
Public visitation to greet the family will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday December 1st at Reece Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Iowa State Foundation scholarships.
Published on November 27, 2017
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