OBITUARY

David Neil Helgeson Sr.

August 27, 1946December 2, 2018
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It is with great sadness that the family of David Helgeson announces his passing.

Born in 1946 to Katherine and Rudolph, the third oldest of six children, David had an idyllic childhood growing up in Weston that resembled a real-life version of Leave it to Beaver. He spent a lot of time outside playing with his younger brother Ken and other neighborhood friends exploring the family’s yard they dubbed ‘the Back 40’ a large field you could only get to by crossing Stony Brook, that cut through land behind the family home. Good natured pranks filled their days as much as the simple excitement of catching frogs and floating on David’s handmade raft.

His love of driving started at an early age. At around 14, David’s grandmother loaned him the money to purchase a 1952 Chevy with the understanding that David would drive her around (which he did). He proceeded to dismantle the vehicle and stripped the body down to the chassis, until all that remained were the working parts and the seats. He and Ken drove that car over his father’s homemade telephone post bridge into the Back 40 and drove around for so long they had created a whole looped dirt track. With no doors or windows on the car to protect them, the two boys would return to the family home — which featured only one bathtub — absolutely covered in dirt and grime. David loved cars, motorcycles and boats and all manner of vehicles and this love of driving carried on throughout his lifetime. His boats were a Four Winns bowrider and a 25 foot C Dory both named Ma Belle, a double entendre honoring the Beatles song Michelle and New England Telephone aka Ma Bell .

In sixth grade he took up the trombone and played for the school band in high school. He participated in scouting as a cub and boy scout, and achieved the rank of Star scout. He played Little League, his team was featured in a television commercial for a 1958 Ford Country Squire Wagon with Kurt Gowdy. David served as a team manager for his high school basketball team and in his senior year participated in a public debating contest what he termed as a significant life event. He went on to play softball for the Baptist Church, a travel team that visited fields to compete against teams as far away as Roxbury. He continued playing for that team into his adult years as a pitcher, as it transitioned into the Weston Softball League.

Ever the prankster, David pranked his way in and out of Indiana Tech, and often proudly proclaimed to have achieved the lowest cumulative GPA in school history. Despite his lack of a college degree, he was a man of learning with a keen mind for problem solving and exceptional wit. He avidly read anything he got his hands on whether it be a thriller by Stephen King, or a manual to operate a toaster. He consistently kept up with current events and depending on his audience was careful in expressing his convictions with others but was quite vocal with those who were like minded.

David’s life was forever changed in 1968 while having lunch with a friend at Ye Olde Cottage Restaurant. In walked the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and a few weeks later while attending a party, he was able to finally meet her. That beautiful girl became the great love of his life, his wife Michele. He came home from their first date together and immediately told his parents that she was the woman he was going to marry. In November of 1970, they did just that, exchanging vows at the First Baptist Church in Weston, where David’s family were active members.

His easy-going way with people, and his ability to figure out how things worked drove him to great professional heights. His work life began as a lineman for New England Telephone. He loved Glen Campbell Wichita Lineman which was popular at that time. He worked his way up the ladder from Lineman, to Splicer, to Field Management; then later into the office for a position in Sales; rung by rung, never letting his drive for providing for his family eclipse his exceptional love for them. As New England Telephone changed and transformed , he did also; finding solutions when problems arose, exceeding the expectations of employers, and filling the gaps when they needed filling eventually becoming a Project Manager before his retirement. Even in that retirement coworkers would often reach out to retrieve his leadership and advice.

Even though officially retired, he often said “I’m not retired, just looking for work.” So retirement didn’t last long for David, as often this love of people drove him to voluntarily get involved in many other activities. He took a short job at Enterprise Car Rental wherein he was constantly deemed severely overqualified, yet he enjoyed the act of driving so much, he found pleasure in doing a days work even as a passenger with severely aged coworkers who he felt shouldn’t be legally allowed to drive. He even drove for Uber for a short time, as it gave him a captive audience of strangers to tell his stories too.

He found enjoyment every day in random acts of kindness, of which he might only perform one act and figure ‘that was enough’, he was done for the day. One of his favorite good acts was to let people in in traffic.

David was devoted to the community through service to the Boy Scouts of America. He served as a dedicated member of the District Advancement Committee and presided over more than 600 Eagle boards of review, he served as Troop 61 Committee Chair, served as the Council Advancement Chair, and was a Unit Commissioner. He continued to make time to volunteer long after his own children had gone through the ranks, often willing to impart simple, sensible, and easy wisdom to others. He was honored by the boy scouts with the Good Scout Award for his unselfish service to others and awarded the Council distinguished service award, the Silver Beaver Award which was given in recognition of his years of service.

David loved the pursuit of knowledge, puzzles and crossword puzzles (he would do three a day). He often watched Me TV, How It’s Made and the Smithsonian Channel that featured Aerial America. He loved photography, and enjoyed the workings of the lens and camera body as much as the photos he took. He shared a special love of Jeopardy with his daughter Jessica, who would text him every night before Final Jeopardy where they would share a guess at the answer before it was revealed.

A man with a tinkerer’s mind whose curiosity not only was captivated by things, but also extended to getting to know the inner workings of people. He enjoyed people; he enjoyed their story, their background, their drives and ambitions, and would talk at lengths with you as if he were reading one of the many books he often enjoyed. While never needing to be in the center of the spotlight, he often assumed the role of key supporting player.

David volunteered at any organization where his family was involved no matter how minor the involvement. He was a regular blood donor, who donated every six months, and looked forward to providing entertaining conversation at any appointment he kept. He exemplified the best of what it means to be part of a community, in his service to others, but also in service to his family. If you needed help, he'd lend a hand; if you needed a ride- he'd drive you- there was nothing you could ask that David could not assist, or make the time to help. He was a man who was selfless and did not ask for much. He was amazingly adaptable, as his life was influenced by the demanding and unpredictable career his wife had as a midwife.

He was immensely proud of his family. He could talk at great lengths about how proud of the people that his children had become. Whenever you asked him any question about his children David, Jessica and Michael, he would become extra excited to share their accomplishments and celebrate how far they’d come, with a lengthy discussion which usually included a life lesson (that he’d taught them by the way... )

One of his greatest joys was spending time hanging around with his grandsons, sneaking subtle wisdom into playtime in his own considerate way. With Gabe and Oliver and Sam (fondly referred to by David , as Mr G and Mr O and Mr S), he made time to sit through a myriad of sports and practices, plays and activities. With his “best pal” Sam who spent time having play dates with Grandpa, which some might find mundane but meant the world to Sam, ranged from driving him around to count various firehouses, and trips to the hair salon where he would allow Sam to wash his hair before each haircut. Watching him with his granddaughters Emily and Allison, you could witness his careful and mindful practice of leading them down the path to their own new discoveries in learning with every time he picked them up to sit them on his lap to play.

Since 2007, annual trips to Kauai, Hawaii became a special destination for David and Michele; having recently spent 3 weeks in paradise indulging in time with one another in celebration of their 48th wedding anniversary.

While commonly assuming the role of teacher, he earned that authority as one of the roles he relished most was that of the Observer. He relished the chance to watch life bloom around him, evident in the interactions of people around him and the love his family shared. He was a great noticer of the small things in life that everyone tells you to keep track of, whether it be the happenings of everyday life that surprise and delight, or just small and poetic instances of Love.

David had his own unique sense of humor. He was a kind and gentle soul and will be deeply missed and remembered for his selflessness and putting family first, and building a legacy of Love.

Services

9 December

Visitation

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Duckett-J.S. Waterman & Sons Home of Memorial Tribute

656 Boston Post Road
Sudbury, MA 01776

10 December

Memorial Service

1:00 pm

Sudbury United Methodist Church

251 Old Sudbury Road
Sudbury, MA 01776

REMEMBERING

David Neil Helgeson Sr.

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Lin Doyle

December 8, 2018

I met Dave in 1980 when I started working at New England Telephone. I was 21, fresh out of college and absolutely clueless (and very nervous). Dave instinctively picked up on my fear and took the initiative to take me on sales calls so I could learn. To Dave, it was likely a very small gesture. But to me, it meant the world. Dave was the personification of inherent kindness, generosity and optimism. It came so naturally to him. He will be so very missed by the many he touched throughout the years.

Rod Pfannenstiel

December 8, 2018

I knew David Helgeson through his dedicated volunteer work for the Boy Scouts. His honest smile and words of encouragement graced so many young men. His impact and legacy will live on as he touched so many with compassion and encouragement. Dave always has a smile on his face. Thank you for all that you have done for so many.

George Gilman

December 7, 2018

I met Dave through BSA Council Advancement and enjoyed doing many Eagle Scout boards of reviews with him. He had a gentle way and always had the young scouts interest at heart. I am saddened by his passing but am a better person for having known him. RIP Dave.

Bob Cantin

December 6, 2018

Dave, you caught us unprepared. We weren't ready to say goodbye. My heart goes out to your family. I'm honored to have been your friend and fellow Scouter. You will certainly fly with the Eagles forever.

Tim Heil

December 5, 2018

I am at a loss for words at the passing of my friend Dave. One of the nicest guys it was ever my privilege to know and one of the finest technical minds I had the honor to work besides. Dave exemplified what it meant to be a mentor in both the work world and as a human being. His graciousness and wry sense of humor will forever hold a special place in my heart. My sincere condolences go out to his family and all of those who knew this truly good man.

Tim Yurkus

December 5, 2018

Uncle Dave was always the man behind the camera at family gatherings. A man I always looked up to literally and figuratively till I was in my early teens, then I only did figuratively. I loved his humor and his smile as he gathered us for the photos with a distinctive voice that couldn't be confused for anyone else. Dave you are sorely missed by everyone. Rest in peace Uncle Dave

I love you

Tim

Matthew Denaro

December 5, 2018

Dave was a true gentleman, technically astute and never too busy to help. His easy smile and great sense of humor endeared him to everyone he met. The world is a little poorer but heaven, all the richer. Rest is peace, Dave.

Gene Mulligan

December 5, 2018

Dave. was such a gentleman and always helpful. It was my privilege to know and work with him, Was one of a kind and will be sorely missed.

Al Williamson

December 5, 2018

I am so deeply sadden to hear of Dave's passing. He was a great friend and he enriched the lives of so many Scouts. He will be missed by all of us. Your friend in Scouting.

Al Williamson

Bob (Desi) DeSimone

December 4, 2018

I am shocked and deeply sadden to hear of Dave’s passing. He was the kindest and warmest of souls. My deepest sympathy to his family. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

May You Rest In Peace, “Helgy”

Desi