Ralph Derst Helmken March 25, 1922 - November 4, 2013 - VIDALIA - Ralph Derst Helmken passed away November 4, 2013 in Vidalia, Georgia under the care of Community Hospice. A Savannah native, and Geechee at heart, he was born March 25, 1922, the son of Marie Elizabeth Derst and John Cord Helmken, Sr. Upon graduation from Savannah High School, he enrolled at The Citadel and upon the conclusion of World War II, completed his studies at the University of Georgia where, like his grandson, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He was a Letterman on the UGA Rifle Team. He retired after a 30-year career with Southland Oil Company only to be asked to serve as the City Manager of Lyons, Georgia, a position that he held for 10 years. He was an organizer and founding director of Robert Toombs Christian Academy. A kind, loving, and caring father, husband, grandfather, and friend, he was the ultimate Southern Gentleman. He is survived by one son and daughter, John Cord Helmken, II (Melanie) and Judy Lynn (Ronnie), grandchildren Emma Elizabeth Derst Helmken, John Cord Helmken, III, Kendra Lynn Fitzgerald, Dequera Lynn Hardman; great-grandchildren Jackson Newton, Ella Newton, Cooper Hardman, Bricyn, Shanne, and Rilyn Fitzgerald; sister-in-law Sara Davis Young, and several wonderful nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife and love of 47 years, Lena Davis Helmken, and siblings Marie Helmken Moyer, William Howard Helmken, Sr., and John Cord Helmken, Jr. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, November 6th at 2:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Lyons with Reverend Dannie Williams officiating. Visitation will follow in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the service. Remembrances to: Robert Toombs Christian Academy, P.O. Box 337, Lyons, Georgia 30436; or First Baptist Church, 144 S. Washington St., Lyons, Georgia 30436. Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home of Vidalia 912-537-7877 Savannah Morning News November 5, 2013 Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at savannnahnow.com/obituaries.
Published in Savannah Morning News on Nov. 5, 2013
Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home
310 North Street West Vidalia, GA 30475