Charlie told his daughter Kathy that "I'm not going to be home for Christmas". True enough, he passed Christmas Eve morning in Marysville, CA, on December 24, 2013.
Charlie was born the first of five brothers in June of 1938 to Charles Irwin Helsem Sr. and Iris (Boo) Helsem in Yuba City, his lifelong home. He was soon followed by Donald, Richard, David, and Roy.
Charlie enlisted in the Army and spent four years in, some in Korea. He was recognized as a sharpshooter and was honorably discharged.
He then met and married Claudine and was able to help her raise her four children, Sandy, Eugene, LaQuita, and Kathy. When LaQuita passed too soon, they also adopted her daughter Ericka.
Ater the Army Charlie was a plumber, working for the family business "Helsem and Sons Plumbing", which company held the oldest plumbing license in the area. He was a hard worker, an excellent athlete, and an academically gifted, responsible student. He was also a force to be reckoned with should he see someone was being mistreated. He could also out-drink and out-fight anyone you care to name...the man was a legend!
His nickname was "Toughy" and he was always ready to prove it. Lord help the child who rode his bike down "Helsem Street", AKA Walnut. The unlucky kid would likely end up crashed with a stick through his spokes... His family knew him well as a practical joker.
He spent his final years on the same block he grew up on, three brothers living right in a row. Bicyclists were safe by this time...
Charlie was preceded in death by his loving wife Claudine Helsem; daughter LaQuita Wall, son Eugene Bell; grandchildren Jason Wall and Erich Hoff; his parents and his brother David Helsem.
He is survived by daughters Sandy Moore of Yuba City, Kathy Whatley, and Ericka Lee, both of Marysville; brothers Donald Helsem (Janie) of Spanaway, WA, Richard Helsem and Roy Helsem, and David's wife Penny Helsem, Uncle Norman Helsem, all of Yuba City; six grandchildren, four graet-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The family hopes you will join them for a Celebration of his Life on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at the home of Bruce and Judy Smith, 2269 Howlett Ave., Yuba City, CA 95993.
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Published in Appeal Democrat on Jan. 14, 2014