Gordon T. Helme, 84, of Rochester, passed away Saturday, January 23, 2021 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston following a long illness. He was the husband of Elizabeth L. “Betty” (Kouba) Helme with whom he shared 56 years of marriage.
Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, son of the late Frank and May (Pierce) Helme, he immigrated to the United States with his parents at the end of World War II in 1947 and has resided in Rochester since 2003.
Mr. Helme proudly served in an enlisted capacity with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1954 to 1961 and as a commissioned officer in the Supply Corps of the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1971.
He graduated from New Bedford High School in 1955. He earned a B.S. in Textile Technology from the New Bedford Institute of Technology in 1959, an M.B.A. from the University of MA at Dartmouth in 1979 and an M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology from Assumption College in 1981.
Mr. Helme had a successful and rewarding career in Federal Civil Service beginning with the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Providence as a Benefits Delivery Specialist, then worked with the U.S. Small Business Administration in Boston as the Regional Veterans Affairs Officer for the New England region until retiring in 1996. In the private sector, he worked for Eastman Kodak Company in Tennessee, the Brunswick Corp. Research Facility in Newton and worked with the U.S. Job Corps Program as a Recruiter and Placement Specialist for Bristol County.
Gordon was a volunteer for the VA Medical Center in Providence and the VA Clinic in New Bedford for many years receiving numerous awards for his service. He served as a SHINE Counselor, Veterans’ Representative and Board of Directors member for the Rochester Council on Aging. He was the recipient of Rochester’s Man of the Year Award in 2012, a member of the Freetown Lion’s Club, the Aleppo Shriners, a Past Master Mason of the Star in the East Lodge and served as Chaplain of the Boy Scouts Troop 3. He was a communicant of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and served as a Eucharistic Minister for 47 years. Gordon loved reading, studying history, the ocean and sailing and was fond of animals. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family, whom he adored.
Surviving in addition to his wife Betty, are his daughters, Lynn Eddleston and her husband Arthur of Rochester and Robin Chaves and her husband John of Lakeville; his grandchildren, Lauren Stoye and her husband Brian of East Taunton and Nicholas Chaves of Boston; and his beloved dog, Clyde.
Visiting hours: Thursday, January 28, 2021 from 4-7 pm in the Waring-Sullivan Home at Fairlawn, 180 Washington St., Fairhaven. Funeral service and burial with full military honors are private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 169 Belleville Rd., New Bedford, MA 02745.
For online tributes, please visit: www.waring-sullivan.com