Robert Earl Helander (September 21, 1930 - November 3, 2013)

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  • "Sorry to hear this. I worked at Union Oil Research when..."
    - William Bewley
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Robert Earl Helander, born September 21, 1930, to Peggy and Earl Helander in Port Townsend, died on November 3, 2013, in Poulsbo, Washington, after a long illness.

Bob attended and graduated from Port Townsend schools, class of 1948.

He earned his Bachelor of Science from Denver University and his doctorate in chemical engineering from Northwestern Technological Institute in Evanston, Illinois.

He married Margery Myers of Port Ludlow in 1952. They have three children, Eric (Christin) of Evergreen, Colorado, Wayne (Patti) of Claremont, California, and Peggy of Santa Ana, California. He has seven grandchildren and three great-grandsons. Bob also leaves his brother, Richard (Irene) of Bremerton, Washington, along with three nephews and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.

He joined Union Oil Research Center in Brea, California, in 1956. Bringing his engineering and personal skills to the company, Bob accepted every assignment with enthusiasm and creativity in oil recovery methods, tar sands and geophysics.

He was greatly respected by senior management, peers and associates. He was especially known for mentoring young members of his team.

He retired in 1992 as vice president of exploration research.

During Bob's 54 years as a volunteer for the American Red Cross in both Orange County, California, and Jefferson County, he donated a total of 11 gallons of blood.

He was an active member of the Port Townsend Kiwanis Club for 17 years, serving as president from 2000 to 2001. He served on the Board of Camp Beausite, Northwest, a special-needs camp for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.

Bob was a member of the Port Townsend Elks and of the Jefferson County Emergency Management System. He served on the board of the EMS Council and was a member of the Port Ludlow Radio Club.

He was a husband, father, grandfather, friend, hiker, sailor, skier, bowler, golfer, auto mechanic, pack rat, handyman, fisherman, train buff, beer lover, music lover, leader, mentor, role model and adventurer, and possessed an avid curiosity and quick sense of humor. Bob will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any remembrances be made to Camp Beausite Northwest, P.O. Box 1227, Port Hadlock, WA 98339.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Dec. 11, 2013
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