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Ronald Paul Helman
July 27, 2022
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Chassell: Ronald Paul “Ron” Helman, 89, of Chassell, passed away on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at the Omega House in Houghton.
Ron was born July 13, 1933 in Canton, Ohio, and he recently celebrated his 89th birthday. He is survived by his wife, Lou Ellyn, and three children: Elizabeth Schearer (Richard), Santa Fe, NM; Randall (Carol), Lothian, MD; and Roger (Allison), Houghton, MI; and seven grandchildren: Andrew Buckner of Colorado; Alex, Ian (Bekah), Seth and Ellie Helman of Michigan: and Miles (Rachel) and Dylan (Kaelin) Helman of North Carolina. His oldest grandson Christopher Buckner sadly preceded him in death.
After graduating from Newark High School (Ohio) in June 1951, he enrolled at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio where he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in 1955 and 1957. While at Miami, he met a freshman coed, Lou Ellyn Alexander, who became his wife on September 8, 1956. (They drove from Toledo to honeymoon at Blaney Park, a resort in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, never dreaming that they would be fortunate enough to move to the Upper Peninsula in 1976.)
Ron served as an officer in the United States Air Force for four years. After the Air Force, he worked a few years in Cleveland, OH for Pickands Mather; was Administrative Secretary of Beta Theta Pi (his college fraternity) in Oxford, OH; and later was District Manager for Ohio U.S. Congressman, W. E. Powell. In 1974 he became Assistant to the President at Berea College, Berea, KY and in 1976 he was named Executive Director of the Michigan Tech Fund at Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI. He was promoted to Vice President of Advancement at Michigan Tech in the mid-80s, and officially retired in 1996.
Ron and Lou Ellyn were named honorary alumni by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association, and he was proud of his record of attending 86 consecutive Tech commencements… and cheering as the Pep Band marched in to jubilantly conclude each ceremony. His love for basketball prompted him to co-found the Center Court Club (better known as C3) for the Tech women’s basketball team in 2000. Ron served on numerous boards - Miami University Alumni Association Board - Miami Class of 1955 Reunion Campaign Chair for five reunions - Beta Theta Pi Board of Trustees and the Fraternity’s Foundation Board, just to name a few. In 2013 Miami University awarded him the prestigious Bishop Medal for “meritorious civic service.”
Locally Ron served on several non-profit boards for many years - Finlandia University - Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly - Salvation Army - Keweenaw Community Foundation. Upon retiring from Tech, he directed the campaigns for three major fund-raising efforts: the Little Brothers building in Hancock; the Copper Country Humane Society building in Houghton; and the campaign to furnish the Portage Lake District Library. Some of his friends joked that they’d cross the street when they’d see him coming, as he was always raising money for one thing or another. Ron definitely wasn’t shy when it came to rallying people to make a project possible, and he was proud of the local community’s generous support. He was a long-time active member of Houghton Rotary and served as 2002-03 Club President and 2004-07 Assistant District Governor and was honored recently by the Club with the Paul Harris Award.
His brief stay at The Omega House was filled with visits by so many, many friends and co-workers who brought good wishes, treats, and shared stories of how he had blessed their lives. He was thankful for this time to be with friends and family and felt humbled by their kind, loving words. He was in good spirits, joking with nurses, friends and family until he peacefully passed in his sleep. Thank you to all who came to see him, and to those who continue to keep him in their thoughts and prayers.
The Helman Family wishes to express their gratitude to the staff at The Omega House for their loving care and understanding. The family suggests that memorial gifts be sent to Omega House Inc., 2211 Maureen Lane, Houghton, MI 49931 or to the charity of the donor's choice.
Family services will be held at a later date. There will be no public visitation. Interment will be in the Chassell Cemetery. The O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home of Hancock is assisting with the arrangements. To leave online condolences, please go to www.oneilldennisfh.com.