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Herben Bert F. Helfrich

July 1, 1932 September 24, 2011
Herben Bert F. Helfrich
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Obituary for Herben Bert F. Helfrich

Mr. Herben "Bert" F. Helfrich died at his home in Highland on Saturday, September 24, 2011. He was 79 years old and had been diagnosed with mesothelioma earlier in the year. Born on July 1, 1932 in Indianapolis, Bert was the only child of Herben A. and Elizabeth (Sullivan) Helfrich. He grew up in Dearborn and after graduating from high school went to work at Ford Motors and then, at age 19, enlisted in the US Navy during the Korean War. He served as a machinists mate on the USS Ticonderoga and came home in 1956, returning to Ford and taking up his courtship of Suzanne Uchwat, to whom he was married in 1958 and with whom he raised five daughters. He worked in the tool and die shop at Ford, attended their skilled building trade schools and spent 44 years with the automaker before retiring in 1995.
Bert Helfrich was an honorable veteran, a patriotic American, and faithful Catholic, proud of his German and Irish bloodlines which combined to make him curious about the way things worked, appreciative of precision tools and blessed with the gift of gab and good stories that he shared over coffee with the group of old timers he met with most mornings in his retirement. He loved animals and had a memory like a steel trap for names and places and events, a real gift for fixing and fashioning things, serious opinions about almost everything and a sense of humor that allowed him to disagree without being disagreeable. Faith and family formed the core of his life and he was grateful to see the generations rising up around him.
He is survived by Sue, his beloved wife of 53 years; their daughters Elizabeth (Don) Parker, Mary Cappeluti, Mo (Ron) Shoebridge, Carrie (Bill) Withers, Cristina (David) Zatek; grandchildren Michelle (Zach) Hewitt, Derek (Becky) Fowler, Zachary O'Neill, Caetie Shea, and Violet Zatek; great-granddaughters Lana and Kyra Fowler, a large extended family and host of dear friends who join with his family in mourning his death and giving thanks to God for his life among them.

Funeral Liturgy from St. Mary Our Lady of the Snows, 1955 E. Commerce Rd., Milford, Thursday, 11 AM. Fr. Ron Anderson to officiate. Burial & Military Honors Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly. Friends may visit at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty St., Milford, on Wednesday from 3 - 9 PM. Vigil Service Wednesday 7 PM.


Memorial contributions encouraged to: American Legion Post #216 or Michigan Humane Society.

For further information, please phone Lynch & Sons, Milford at 248.684.6645.

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