William Jay Helmuth died on December 29, 2023 with his family by his side. He was born on June 30, 1937 in Louisville, Ohio to Elsie (Sommers) & Alvin. He grew up on a farm, learning a hard work ethic along with a joy of playing ball and games with his siblings. Bill was a special brother & uncle that brought smiles and laughter to the family. A part of Bill’s amazing legacy was his gift of asking questions and expressing care. He did not always get it right and had to learn new ways of thinking and accepting, but he genuinely cared about people.
At an early age Bill also learned the value of serving others and spent time in voluntary service at Boys Village in Smithville, OH and Fort Wayne Children’s Home, and together with Corrine in Alberta, Canada. His training as a teacher (B.A. Malone College and M.A. St. Louis University), served him well as an elementary teacher, special education teacher, and principal. He worked at Lake Center School, Edgewood Children’s Home, and Central Christian School.
For 62 years Bill and Corrine have walked together, starting their dating journey at a hymn sing, where Corrine was impressed with Bill’s beautiful bass voice. Over the years they have loved singing side by side each Sunday morning at Sonnenberg Mennonite Church, where Bill’s commitment to the church community has been evident through activities such as teaching Sunday School.
While Bill held many titles in life, from principal to farmer, teacher to “fix it thrift store worker”, his favorite role was being a father, grandfather, mentor. He loved nothing more than spending time with his adult children and grandchildren which often included walking the trails behind sister-in-law Virgenes house and eating meals at the campfire. He was always eager for the opportunity to engage in grandchildren’s lives and activities. Bill had many friends who became like family and loved spending the past 22 years volunteering at MCC Connections Thrift Store. He named many times that his cancer treatment was being with his friends at MCC.
Bill and Corrine’s four children are Ed (Julie) Helmuth of Colorado, Karen (Benny) Wise of North Carolina, Jan Kauffman of Indiana, Kandace (Jerry) Helmuth of Pennsylvania, and numerous grand and great grandchildren.
Bill’s siblings are Barb Witmer, Jim (Rich) Helmuth , and Carol Helmuth. He was preceded in death by brothers David Helmuth, Dale Helmuth and brother-in-law Bob Witmer.
Friends may call on Monday, January 1, 2024 from 2-4:00 pm followed by a memorial service at 5:00 pm, all at the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church. Graveside services for family and close friends will be held on Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at 10:00 am at the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to Mennonite Central Committee.
The family would like to extend a heart-felt thanks to Aultman Hospice and Palliative Care for their support and kindness during Bill’s three year journey with cancer.