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Raymond Alwin Helmboldt

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Raymond Alwin Helmboldt May 14, 1917 - October 19, 2013 Lisbon - Raymond Alwin Helmboldt, 96, died peacefully on October 19, 2013 after a courageous battle with old age. Ray was born May 14, 1917 in Lisbon to George and Clara (Kaempffe) Helmboldt, the youngest of three boys. After attending a two room school house in Lisbon, Ray went on to Norwich Free Academy, Class of 1935. He attended Michigan State University for three years until the money ran out. He then graduated from the American Academy of Mortuary Science in New York City and worked for a funeral director in Taftville until he entered the Navy in 1940. His major of chemistry and biology resulted in an assignment to the medical corps where he served as Chief Pharmacist in Special Forces and aboard destroyers in the Pacific and Atlantic. He had many adventures serving on an escort ship to the North Sea, caring for the injured during the landing in North Africa, hunting German subs in the Atlantic and sailing to India, Singapore and throughout the Caribbean. He was assigned to a new destroyer, the Willie D. Porter, in 1943, that started to accompany the USS Iowa with President Roosevelt on his way to the Conference in Tehran. A live torpedo was accidently discharged and the Willie D. was sent to Bermuda where all hands were disbursed to various ports. Ray landed at the Newport Naval Base in early 1944. By March 11th, 1944, he had met and married Helen Bihunâ€"his wife of nearly 69 years. Ray returned to sea on an attack transport and learned about the birth of his daughter Karen somewhere in the Pacific when the death of President Roosevelt was announced aboard ship. At war's end, Ray made several trips from Subic Bay in the Philippines to San Francisco bringing troops home. Ray was discharged in Norfolk in 1946. Ray and Helen settled in Norwich and with a financial partner started Church & Allen Funeral Home. A son, Mark, was born in 1952. Ray grew Church & Allen to include homes in Mystic, Colchester, Jewett City, Montville, Gales Ferry and Westerly along with the home on Sachem Street in Norwich. He and Mark sold the business in 1998. Ray was active in the community serving over the years as a corporator of the Wm. W. Backus Hospital, President of the Norwich Rotary, Director of the Chelsea Groton Bank, a board member of the YMCA and Boy Scouts, Commodore of the Ram Island Yacht Club, a founding member of the Pautipaug Country Club, and perhaps his favorite, a member of the Connecticut Seniors Golfing Association. Ray and Helen traveled throughout Europe and the US playing golf on many of the world's great courses. Ray was predeceased by his wife Helen who died last December. He is survived by his daughter Karen and her husband, John of Waitsfield, Vermont; his son Mark and his wife, Lynn of Block Island and North Stonington; two grandchildren, Erin and her husband, Alistair Marshall of London, England and Lauren and her husband, Adam Sekel of North Stonington; and one very young great grandson, Blair Bruce Alwin Marshall, whom he met in September at six weeks of age. At his request, services will be private are have been entrusted to the care of the Aurora-McCarthy Funeral Home of Colchester. For online condolences, please visit www.auroramccarthyfuneral home.com.

Published in Norwich Bulletin on Oct. 23, 2013
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