Helgeson, James John
June 6, 1941 – April 2, 2021
James (Jim) Helgeson was born June 6, 1941 to Leona Satre Helgeson and Joe Helgeson of Appleton, Wisconsin. The family soon moved to Marion, Wisconsin and then to Northland, Wisconsin. Jim attended first through eighth grade at Northland Country School. Jim loved telling stories about his childhood and the one room school house at Northland. Jim graduated from Iola High School in 1959 where he excelled in academics, baseball and basketball.
After high school, Jim attended the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point for two years before working as a food inspector for the State of Wisconsin. In 1963, Jim enlisted in the Army and went to basic training in Missouri. After basic training, Jim returned to Iola and married the love of his life, Marcia Twetan on May 21, 1963. Jim and Marcia spent two and a half years in Germany where Jim was stationed. Jim and Marcia spent several Army “leaves” traveling and camping all over Europe with their young son Eric.
Upon returning to Iola, Jim finished his bachelor’s degree in 1968 just a week before the birth of his twin boys, Jeff and John Helgeson. Jim worked at the Iola pickle factory during the summer of 1968 prior to being hired as a teacher in the Rosholt School District. Jim taught social studies and history at the High School. Jim coached cross country, varsity boys basketball and baseball for Rosholt High School. He additionally spent summers leading the Iola little league baseball program in Iola, which to his delight, all three of his sons participated in and excelled. Jim and Marcia enjoyed golf and were early members of the Iola Community Golf Course. Jim was very patient and would take his boys on the course to teach them the game of golf. The twins later took turns being club champs.
In 1980, Jim left his teaching career to begin a job with the Central Electric Cooperation. Jim and Marcia spent weekends and vacations in Eagle River camping with a wonderful group of Iola friends. Fishing the Eagle River chain for walleye, crappies and musky was another of his passions. It was often said around the campfire “If Helgeson’s aren’t catching fish, don’t bother to go”. Jim and Marcia also enjoyed cruising and spent many vacations later in life traveling the world on cruise ships. Some of Jim’s favorite locations were Norway, Alaska and South America.
After Jim retired, he and Marcia spent the winters at their condo on Anna Maria Island, Florida. While in Florida, Jim enjoyed golfing at Key Royale golf course, and fishing in Tampa Bay off his dock. While in Florida, Jim also enjoyed son Jeff’s family who lived nearby. Jim loved to go to all of his Grandkids games both in Florida and Wisconsin. Jim’s family meant the world to him!
Jim passed away peacefully, as he lived his life on April 2, 2021 in Marcia’s arms with the family by his side at the Tidewell Hospice House in Bradenton, Florida. Jim was a quiet man of few words who enjoyed life, traveling, playing Rummikub with Marcia and most of all his boys and his family. Jim was especially proud of his grandchildren.
Survivors include his wife Marcia, his sons Eric (Jill) Helgeson, Jeff (Lorelei) Helgeson, John (Erin) Helgeson, his grandchildren Brandon Helgeson, Alek Helgeson, Kalee Helgeson, Trip Helgeson, his sister Joan (Rudy) Seul and his nephews Joe and Chris Seul.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents Joe and Leona Helgeson, his brother Thomas Helgeson, his parent’s in law James and Mae Twetan, nephew Paul Seul and several aunts and uncles.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Friday, November 26, 2021 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Iola, Wisconsin. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church – radio fund, Iola Food Pantry or Tidewell Hospice of Bradenton, Florida.