Richard C Helander was born to Clarence and Naomi Helander in February 1936. “Dick” attended Trout Lake Camp at age 13 where he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He grew up in Fergus Falls, MN, graduating from High School in 1954 and attended Bethel College for a semester before joining the United States Air Force in 1955. He was stationed at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, CO. In 1956, Dick married his High School sweetheart Marlene Dyrland. Dick served four years active duty as an Avionics instructor. They were blessed with two daughters Linda and Pamela while in CO.
Dick started with the FAA as an Electronics Technician and became an instructor at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City where their son David was born.
Dick worked for Control Data in Minneapolis for three years. Dick and a coworker started an Avionics Program at the Technical School in Alexandria. Attending First Baptist Church, Dick taught Adult Sunday School and was a Deacon. Dick and Marlene traveled with the ReachOut Singers for five years on summertime tours experiencing first-hand God’s protection and provision. While teaching full time, he built a cabin on Eagle Lake, a home on Lake Geneva, and a home for Marlene’s parents.
As empty nesters, they moved to Portland to be near their family and built another home. Dick worked for Horizon Airlines as an Avionics Technician. He developed and taught avionics training courses and wrote technical manuals. Dick also built a home for Pam and family while in Portland. Many visits were made to Linda and family in CA and AZ.
After 13 years in Portland, a move to Denver was next where they bought a home to be near Dave & Liz who were expecting twins. He worked at Ball Aerospace for eight years.
Moving again they purchased “an unfinished” home on Lake Blackwell near Alexandria. This became a favorite retreat with 7 finished bedrooms for the whole family. Dick was a part of building and serving at Grace Church. In 2017 they moved to Dave & Liz’s home in Glenwood, MN as his health declined.
He made faith and family his priorities. Though Dick suffered many years from joint pain, he didn’t complain and maintained a positive attitude. Dick experienced God’s mercy, peace, and forgiveness through 67 years of marriage and 87 years of life. Richard C. Helander passed away on January 12th at 12:12 am 2024, from congestive heart failure. With the support of Hospice, he was able to be at home, surrounded by loved ones. He is survived by wife, Marlene, 3 children: David & Liz Helander, Linda & Doug Beckett, Pam & Ken Sohriakoff, 12 grandchildren, and 19 great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Saturday February 24, 2024, 10:00 – 11:00 AM at Grace Church in Alexandria, Minnesota with a Memorial Service at 11:00 AM. Burial will be at Geneva Cemetery.