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Richard Arthur Helffrich Sr.

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Richard Arthur Helffrich Sr. Obituary
Richard Arthur Helffrich Sr. June 2, 1926-Oct 24, 2013

Dr. Richard A Helffrich, affectionately known to family and friends as "Smiley" was born in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in Glendale by parents James Fredrick Helffrich and Harriet Ziff Helffrich, along with his sister, Margaret Helffrich Nirickent.

After graduating from Glendale High School in 1944, Smiley entered the US Navy, serving as coxswain and receiving an honorable discharge in 1946. After the service, he attended the University of Southern California, where was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. He went on to complete his Doctorate of Dental Surgery and graduated from USC's School of Dentistry in 1954.

In 1951, he met and married his wife of 42 years, Mary Virginia McCuskey (deceased). They were blessed with three wonderful children, Richard, Johanna (Greenwood) and Gretchen (Zavala).

Smiley had a passion for life and a love for the water. Smiley and Mary spent many days with their children surfing at San Onofre on the coast of California. The family traveled far and wide for family vacations, enjoying scuba diving and snow skiing together. He also had a private pilot's license and enjoyed trips to the Arctic Circle and the Caribbean. He also loved fishing and hunting, especially at the Pazusa Duck Club where he was a member for 43 years.

He and his second wife, Louise Webster (deceased), married in June of 1998. They shared many interests and the same love for life, family and friends. Smiley had a huge heart, he so loved Lou that he could not help but love and embrace her children and her grand-children, as well.

Smiley was a dedicated Dentist; he was passionate about his chosen profession. After graduating from dental school he opened his own practice, in Pasadena, California-which he maintained for over 56 years. He also served as a Fellow of the American College of Dentistry and Clinical Professor at his beloved USC, where he shared his love and knowledge of his profession for over 34 years. During his career as a dentist, professor and mentor, he received many, many awards-too many to mention. Most importantly, Smiley truly considered himself a lucky man to have experienced such success and to have made the acquaintance of so many wonderful professionals, colleagues, employees and patients, of whom he considered all to be friends.

Smiley believed in giving back to his community, as well. He was director of the Children's Dental Clinic in 1955. He served three times as Dental Chairman of the community chest for San Gabriel Dental Society. He also served 12 years as a reserve deputy sheriff in Altadena.

A generous and loving man, Smiley loved to tell a joke or two and be surrounded by his family, friends and work. His passion for knowledge and lifelong education never wavered. He loved to read, watch the History Channel and listen to talk radio. He could never read or learn too much about World War II, an interest he shared with his son, Richard, and his son in-law, Galen Greenwood.

Smiley loved and believed in both God and this great Country. He was grateful for, and proud of, a life well-lived. He will be missed by so many that knew him.

He is survived by Richard (Donna) Helffrich, Maryanne Helffrich, Johanna (Galen) Greenwood, Gretchen (Marty) Zavala, Step-children, James (Vicki) Webster, Gary (Dianna) Webster, Scott (Lori) Webster, Susan (Roy) Felt. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Richard Helffrich, III, Caitlin Greenwood, Jack Greenwood, Meagan Zavala and Jonathan Zavala, and nine step-grandchildren: Richard and Timothy Lamp, Sally, Sam, Shanna, Meagan, Parisa, Brian & Kevin

"Forever in our hearts - we love you and we will miss you but we know you are with your loved ones in heaven"

Service will be held at Mountain View Mortuary and Cemetery 2400 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Altadena, California on Saturday Nov 16, 2013 at 12:00pm.
Published in Pasadena Star-News on Oct. 30, 2013
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