Vernon Jerome Helgeson, 74, Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Vernon Jerome Helgeson, age 74, of Albert Lea, formerly of Lake Mills, Iowa, died Sunday, Sept. 1, 2002, at the Lake Mills Care Center in Lake Mills.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at Salem Lutheran Church in Lake Mills, Iowa, with the Rev. Roger Dykstra and the Rev. Kevin Mackey officiating. Visitation is from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Mittelstadt Funeral Home in Lake Mills, and again one hour prior to the service on Thursday at the church. Burial and Military Rites by Otto/Chose Posts #235 will be at Salem Memorial Cemetery in Lake Mills, Iowa.

There will be a memorial service for Vernon at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, with the Rev. John Henriksen officiating.

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Vernon Jerome Helgeson, son of Tilford and Louise (Honsey) Helgeson, was born Oct. 19, 1927, in Winnebago County, Iowa. He was baptized and confirmed at Salem Lutheran Church in Lake Mills. Vernon graduated from LMHS in 1945.

Upon graduation he received a football scholarship to attend University of Iowa. However, he was drafted to serve in the Korean War. He survived extensive time fighting on the frontlines including celebrating Christmas on Heartbreak Ridge. For this he was awarded the Gold Cross. After his discharge he met and married Barbara Bjelland. He enjoyed following their five children and fourteen grandchildren to various sporting events, and visiting with his many friends and family members.

He was an active leader in the Lake Mills Community and it’s development. Vernon and his brother Harry purchased the Lake Mills Lumber Company in 1953. He made the lumber business his career.

Barbara and Vernon were married 42 years. In 1996 Barbara passed away.

In 1997, Vernon married Janice Matson of Albert Lea.

Vernon is survived by his wife, Janice of Albert Lea; his children: Laura and her husband Mike Stensrud, Don and his wife Julie Helgeson, all of Lake Mills, Iowa, Terri and her husband Bob Craft of Marshalltown, Iowa, Beth and her husband Ken Rasmussen of Britt, Iowa, and Kathryn and her husband John Colby Jr. of Maplewood, Minn.; 14 grandchildren: Andrew, Kevin and Michael Stensrud, Sara Pederson and her husband Todd, Jennifer and Jill Helgeson, David, Kristen and Tommy Craft, Amanda and Denise Rasmussen, and Joe, Morgan and Jordan Colby; one brother, Milford and his wife Doris Helgeson of Lake Mills, Iowa; sisters-in-law: Eileen Helgeson and Verna Helgeson, both of Lake Mills, Iowa, and Nancy and her husband Ray Kolz of Des Moines, Iowa; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers: Stanley, Harry, Kurtis and Truman; two sisters-in-law: Neoma Helgeson and Phyllis Helgeson; one niece, Linda J. Helgeson; and mother- and father-in-law: Arthur and Jeanette Bjelland.