Dr. Lloyd C. Helper

March 30, 1929July 18, 2021

Dr. Lloyd Champ Helper, veterinarian, professor, Air Force officer and much beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather passed away on July 18, 2021 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Born March 30, 1929, Lloyd grew up a farm boy near Henry and Princeton, Illinois before moving to Champaign, Illinois in 1947 to attend the University of Illinois. There he earned BS degrees in agriculture science and veterinary science in 1953 and a DVM in 1955. It was there he also met Evalyne Jean Jackson, his wife of 67 years. He was called to active duty in 1956, when he was commissioned as an officer in the Veterinary and Preventative Medicine sections of the 1852nd Air Force medical squadron, Biggs Air Force Base, El Paso, Texas. Upon his release in 1958, he enlisted in the Air Force Reserve, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Veterinary and the Environmental Health corps before retiring 32 years later.

Lloyd joined the veterinary faculty at the University of Illinois upon graduation in 1955, earned a further MS degree there in clinical medicine in 1961, and was a post-doctoral fellow in comparative ophthalmic pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1969-1970. As a professor, his roles included teaching, research and heading the U of I College of Veterinary Medicine’s ophthalmology section, roles he relinquished only upon becoming Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the college in 1982. He retired from U of I in 1993. He was an award-winning teacher, a valued mentor, and much admired for his professional and personal demeanor. In recognition of the latter, the College established in 2002 the Dr. & Mrs. Lloyd Helper Veterinary Student and Faculty Collegiality awards. He was eternally proud to have seen two of his children attain DVMs in 1983 and 1984 from the College and go on to careers as veterinarians.

Lloyd was a pioneer in veterinary ophthalmology. He was a well-known teacher, researcher and consultant, and was widely recognized for service to his profession. He is best known as author of the 4th edition of Magrane’s Canine Ophthalmology, a standard text in the field, but also published 43 research papers in refereed journals, wrote several book chapters and authored 25+ articles for other publications. He was a charter Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 1971, and president in 1976 of the Eastern Illinois Veterinary Medical Association. He served on an American Veterinary Medical Association Advisory Board from 1982 to 1995, and was a long-standing Treasurer for the International Society of Veterinary Ophthalmologists who, in 2013, recognized him as a Foundation Honorary Member for his 25 years of service.

As an avid traveler and outdoorsman, Lloyd enjoyed trout fishing, downhill skiing, hiking and other pursuits, always in the company of family and friends. He and Jean saw much of the world together while traveling to meetings and conferences. Together they made friends around the globe. Upon retirement they continued to travel international, taking each of their grandchildren with them on a succession of trips to various countries. They and others remember Lloyd as a prolific story and joke teller, a craft he continued to hone in creative writing classes after retirement. His short story recollections are a joy to read and a lasting testament to the various facets of his life. An eternal optimist, Lloyd chose to see and assume the best of everyone and everything. We should all be more like him.

Lloyd was predeceased by parents Walter Champ and Veva Leone Morris Helper, and siblings Malcolm Helper and Sylvia Gladhill. He is survived by his wife Jean, brother John and sister Mary Carloye, by his children Mark, David, Debra and Patricia and their spouses; by grandchildren Sarah Beckner, Lisa Helper, Jacob and Lucas Helper, Megan, Jennifer and Hannah Frank, Nicholas Wright, and Laura Kopp; and by great grandchildren Cooper and Carter Beckner, John Wright and Alden Kopp.

The family wishes to thank Dustin of Alpha Omega Home Health and caregivers Megan, Suhki and Tamika, as well as Pathway Hospice, for their excellent care in the last 2 ½ years of his life. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Lloyd’s name to the Dr. & Mrs. Lloyd Helper Veterinary Student and Faculty Collegiality Award fund.

A Memorial Service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Fort Collins on Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 10:00am. Please visit to share a memory of Lloyd and leave a message for his family.


6 November

Memorial Service

10:00 am

First United Methodist Church

1005 Stover Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524


Dr. Lloyd C. Helper

have a memory or condolence to add?

Susan Johnston

July 27, 2021

My deepest sympathy to the whole family. I had the absolute honor of seeing him every weekend while working at Rigden. Always had a joke and smile! Love you Jean!

Sue Johnston

Ellen Bjerkas

July 23, 2021

Lloyd and Jeans’s home was always open for European veterinarians spesialising in ophthalmology. For a young aspiring ophthalmologist, getting to know Lloyd and learn from his well of knowledge, was a gift that will never be forgotten.

Jim and Kathy Jones

July 22, 2021

Jean, Debbie, Mark, Dave and Patty,
Our sympathies on Lloyd's passing. We are thinking of you and remembering visits with Lloyd and Jean over the years. Lloyd loved people, loved to talk and we loved to hear his stories. We have good memories of a lunch at the Blue Willow and hikes in Tucson a few years ago, one of our many times together.

Sally Foote

July 22, 2021

Dr. Helper was one of my teachers and someone I referred patients to as I had my practice 30 miles south of U of I. He was so kind and caring. He was always patient with students and encouraged us to learn.

Patti and Dave - I am so sorry for your loss. I remember seeing your dad at the Denver AVMA U of I alum event. That was fun. Please take care.
Sally J Foote DVM

Barbara Hagen

July 22, 2021

Lloyd and Jean Helper were both on the original committee to establish a columbarium at our church. They both put much energy and heart in making it happen.
Lloyd had good ideas and we could always count on a good story or two from him.
He waded in the mud at the Lyons rock quarry helping pick out red sandstorm slabs to use for the memory walls in the columbarium.
He as well as Jean have left good memories.

Ray Ramirez

July 22, 2021

I was privileged to be a student of his, and when we graduated in 86, I recall part of his commencement address encouraging us "when you come back in 20 years, and say you have been practicing for that long, I hope that is true, and not that you practiced the first year 20 times".
I still remember that and pass it along to all my young colleagues.

Steve Young

July 21, 2021

The Buckley SFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for Lt Col Helper's 30+ years of distinguished service to our country in the Air Force. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley SFB at 720-847-6693. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.

Steve Young
Lt Col, USAF, Ret
Director, Buckley SFB RAO

Kathleen Deering, DVM

July 21, 2021

Dr. Helper was a standout professor, supportive and generous mentor, and a very kind man. He will never be forgotten.

Rick DeBowes

July 21, 2021

As an Illini, 77/79 DVM, I had the privilege of working with Dr. Helper while on clinics. Our optho group had a truckload of talent with Drs. Helper, Brightman, and Vestre. They were leaders in the discipline at that time and they showered us with stories about the amazing Dr. Magrane whom, I believe, may have invented ophthalmology. Dr. Helper was incredibly kind, patient and encouraging when it came to helping students grow in skills and confidence. He was the kind if teacher I hoped I would grow up to become. While I ultimately became an equine surgeon instead of an ophthalmologist, I almost went into optho because he made the discipline interesting, even fascinating and he encouraged students to consider specialization. He was in every sense of the word, a scholar and a gentleman. He made a huge difference in the lives of so many veterinarians their and patients. He left the world better for his having been a part of it. Thank you Dr. Helper. You were the best.

Patti Helper

July 21, 2021