Andrew Wesley Helmus
<strong>While surrounded by loved ones at his country home, Andrew Wesley Helmus, age 64, passed away late Sunday evening, Dec. 9, 2012, after a long battle with kidney cancer.
<strong>Andrew was born Dec. 30, 1947, in Oak Park, Ill., a cherished son of Walter and Marie (DeBoer) Helmus.
<strong>He married Lynne K. Spencer on Oct. 5, 1974. They had two much beloved children, Drew Spencer Helmus, of New York, NY, and Amber Marie Helmus, of Duschene, UT.</strong>
<strong>Andy served in the Army from 1967-69. When he returned from active duty, he attended SIU-Carbondale, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in special education. After teaching briefly in Texas, he and Lynne returned to southern Illinois where they both began long teaching careers. Andy taught behaviorally challenged students at Murphysboro Middle School until he retired in 2008; Lynne retired in 2010.</strong>
<strong>Together, Andy and Lynne maintained a huge circle of close friends, whom they regarded as extended family. Scores of people have happy memories of “Helmusfest” and countless smaller get-togethers. Andy and Lynne were mentors for dozens of young people and positive role models for many couples and families. They loved their family camping vacations, horses and Great Danes, and their country life.</strong>
<strong>Andy was preceded in death by his parents and his older sister, Willow Zuidema. Earlier this year, ALS took his beloved wife of 37 years.
<strong>Andy is survived by his two children, Amber and Drew (Robert Smith); his brother, John Helmus (Linda Kovak), his sister, Eloise Fara; and Willow’s three children, Sandra, David and Julie, as well as a host of good friend.</strong>
<strong>Per his wishes, his body will be cremated.</strong>
<strong>A celebration of his life will be held from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at Von Jakob Vineyard, 230 Highway 127 N, Alto Pass.
<strong>In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given in Andrew’s name to the PKD (<a href="http://www.pkdcure.org">www.pkdcure.org</a>) or ALS (<a href="http://www.alsa.org">www.alsa.org</a>) or Hospice of Southern Illinois (<a href="http://www.hospice.org/">www.hospice.org</a>) foundations.</strong>
<strong>Crain Funeral Home in Anna-Jonesboro was in charge of arrangements.</strong>