• "Arlon was related to my grandmother, Hettie Helms..."
  • "May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow."
    - Dianna Cooke

A retired postal employee and former Redlands resident, died April 30 at Valley Vista Care Center in Sandpoint, Idaho. He was 89. His wife of 13 years, the former Hazel Keays Sullivan, survives him in Sandpoint. Cremation has taken place, with a memorial service to be held later in Brookings, Oregon, where Mr. Helms lived in retirement.
He was born October 23, 1924, in Heavener, Oklahoma, the son of George W. Helms and the former Sophronia Lynch. The address of their rural home was listed in the 1940 Census as "on road toward Arkansas state line at Sugar Creek."
Arlon was a 1943 graduate of Heavener High School. He enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine, and saw duty in World War II aboard the Liberty ship SS Mission San Fernando, which carried fuel to U.S. forces in the western Pacific. When the war ended, he served a tour of duty in the U.S. Army.
Mr. Helms had a long career in the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier and supervisor in Redlands. He also was a veteran Ham Radio operator with the call sign NM7W. A cook in the Army, he enjoyed cooking during his retirement, along with motorhome touring and camping.
He was preceded in death by Evelyn, his wife of 32 years, who died in 2000; by a son from a previous marriage, Clifford Lynn Helms of Eugene, Oregon, who died in 1977; and by his parents and all six brothers and sisters. Also deceased is former wife Barbara McShane, whose marriage to Mr. Helms ended in divorce. Arlon is survived by another former wife, Gloria Hinz of Houston, Texas, and their daughter, Patti Bird of Tucson, Arizona. Arlon and Gloria were also the parents of their late son, Clifford. Arlon's third wife, Evelyn, was the mother of two of his surviving stepchildren, son James Sheldon of Napa, California, and daughter Claire Keeble of Medical Lake, Washington. He is also survived by four of Hazel's children from a previous marriage; a nephew, Kenneth Burgen of Brookings, and by two granddaughters and two great-granddaughters.
Published in Redlands Daily Facts on May 18, 2014
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