Gary Helgerson

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Gary Helgerson
August 28, 1946-January 15, 2019

Gary Herman Helgerson, 72, of Elkader, died Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at Patty Elwood Center, Country Winds Manor in Cresco following a brief illness due to dementia. He was born August 28, 1946, in West Union, to Herman and Marian (Schatz) Helgerson.

Gary graduated from Valley High School in 1964. He went on to UNI at Cedar Falls, where he earned his Industrial Arts Education degree, graduating in 1968. Later he attended Central Missouri State where he earned his Master’s Degree in 1970.  Gary went on to teach Industrial Arts and Drivers Ed at Tripoli and Denver, Iowa, for 10 years, before moving to Elkader to become a State Farm Insurance Agent, a position held for 39 years until he retired in 2017.

He married Kae Jeanne Thompson. Three sons were born to this union. They later divorced.

He was an avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman. He loved woodworking projects. He earned a black belt in Taekwondo and completed Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. He also loved watching John Wayne and Clint Eastwood westerns as well as attending Moto Guzzi motorcycle rallies. Gary was an instructor for Boy Scouts and Hunting Education. He served on the Conservation Board at Osborne for a number of years and was a founding member of the Clayton County Archers. Gary was past president of the Iowa Bow Hunters Association.

Survivors include his sons, Erik (Janelle) Helgerson of Lansing, Joel Helgerson and Ryan Helgerson of Eagle River, AK, four grandchildren, Nathan, Madelyn, Caleb and Kara Helgerson; brother, Randy Helgerson of Elgin; sister, Dorothy (Larry) Reiling of Hawkeye; a niece, Brenda and nephew, Brian and many friends.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established.

A visitation was held from 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home in Elkader and after 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Elgin Lutheran Church. A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at Elgin Lutheran Church, Elgin. Inurnment followed at Elgin Lutheran Cemetery, Elgin.

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Elkader assisted the family. Online condolences may be left with

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