John Edward Helbing, Sr., age 75, passed away from cancer on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at his home in Ballwin, Missouri, with his family by his side.
He is survived by his wife, Mary (Hardie); son, John, Jr.; daughters, Kimberly Helbing of Knox City, Missouri and Chrissy (Matt) Plenge of Kahoka, Missouri; four grandchildren, Adalynn and Delaney Denham, and Abby and Aiden Plenge; one brother, George Helbing of Richland Center, Wisconsin; and one sister, Mary Jane Spielvogel of Maplewood, Minnesota.
He was preceded in death by his father, mother, step-father, and two brothers.
John was born on January 26, 1947 in Panama City, Florida, where his father was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base. He was the oldest of five siblings, Jim, George, Mary Jane, and Bobby.
He attended various schools in Dubuque, Iowa, Las Vegas, Nevada, Wichita, Kansas, Columbia, Missouri, and Claremore, Oklahoma, graduating from the Oklahoma Military Academy (OMA) in 1967. In 2020, he received the OMA Distinguished Alumni Award.
He later graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater in 1975 with a degree in Occupational Safety and Health. He worked in that field for various Fortune 500 companies, including Sara Lee, Chiquita Brands, HJ Heinz, and Bunge North America.
John was a Vietnam Veteran, joining the US Army in 1968. During his 3 years of military service, he received 42 weeks of medical training, serving in Vietnam as a combat medic, then company senior medic with Special Forces, the 173rd Airborne, and the 82nd Airborne.
For his service he received, the Combat Medical Badge, Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, Parachute Badge, Good Conduct Medal, and Expert Marksman Rifle.
John was an avid outdoorsman, as his family and friends well know. You name it, he loved it- golfing, hunting, fishing, boating, scuba diving, bike riding, throwing horseshoes, and flying (he was a commercial pilot). He also enjoyed photography, gardening, and tending to his lawn.
Since retiring, he has volunteered at Wings of Hope in Chesterfield, Missouri.
Memorials may be made to Wings of Hope and/or Pedal the Cause.
Services will be held at Newcomer Cremations, Funerals, and Receptions at 2211 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield, Missouri on Saturday, June 4, 2022. Guests are requested to gather at 10:00am. John's Celebration of Life will begin at 10:30am in the parlor.