Neil Helman was born on Easter Sunday, March 27, 1932 to Edwin and Florentine Helman. He graduated from Burnham High School in the class of 1950. He then went on to obtain his Bachelor’s degree at Kent State University and was President of Delta Upsilon fraternity. While at Kent, he had the privilege of having lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt. Soon after graduation, he served with the US Army during the Korean War and was stationed in Germany. He then received his Master’s degree from the University of Toledo. He married the love of his life, Fern Baker, on April 12, 1958, and they had three children, Christine, Nancy and James.
Neil started his career in sales at Champion Spark Plug and was fortunate to escort Richard and Pat Nixon around Toledo during a Vice-Presidential visit. He met Mr. Nixon two more times during his lifetime. He then had a fulfilling career at Dana Corporation and retired at the age of 58 after 30 years as a Sales Manager. At both places he was very involved in the Indianapolis 500 as both a writer and salesperson. He got to know many of the drivers personally.
When his children were younger, the family would vacation every summer at Black Lake, MI. Each of the kids would get a turn getting up at the crack of dawn to go fishing with Neil. Neil was a proud Mason and was involved with the Shriners for many years. He played “the big drum” for the Highlander Band in many parades and events.
Neil and Fern enjoyed traveling all over the country as well as internationally in his retirement years. They also enjoyed time at their timeshares in Fort Myers Beach, Florida every spring. He also enjoyed many fishing trips to Canada with his son and nephews. For many years, they would take their young grandson Adam on various trips and adventures. Neil volunteered for Mobile Meals and later with the Lutheran Food Pantry. Most recently, Neil enjoyed his time at Kingston meeting many new friends. He recently attended a Kent basketball game, which he very much enjoyed.
Surviving are his daughters, Christine Lawrence (Bob) and Nancy DellaMaddalena; son, James (Stacy) Helman; and grandson, Adam Lawrence. He was proceeded in death by his wife, Fern; and sisters, Jeanette Deye and Carol Dolph.
Bless you dad. We will miss your great sense of humor and your wisdom. As dad would say, “At any rate, I’ve had a very good life.”
The family would like to thank Kingston of Sylvania and Ohio Living Hospice for their care and compassion. In lieu of flowers please consider Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice. Services pending due to the pandemic.
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