Jerry Heltsley

Posted 7/13/20

KANSAS — Robert Gail “Jerry” Heltsley, 89, of Kansas, passed away at 9:49 a.m. Friday, July 10, 2020, at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital, Mattoon. He was a lifelong farmer.

Private …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail or username
Password
Log in

Jerry Heltsley

Posted

KANSAS — Robert Gail “Jerry” Heltsley, 89, of Kansas, passed away at 9:49 a.m. Friday, July 10, 2020, at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital, Mattoon. He was a lifelong farmer.

Private burial with military honors is in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, rural Kansas. Templeton Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Heltsley was born Sept. 17, 1930, at Charleston, the son of the late Arthur B. and Hazel O. Epperson Heltsley. He married Dorothy A. Laughead Aug. 24, 1952, at Grandview United Methodist Church in Grandview, and she survives. They celebrated 68 years of Biblical marriage and worked together as a team building the family farm.

Other survivors include four children, Mike (Debbie) Heltsley of Paris, Gail (Rory) Steidl of Lerna, Ron (Sherri) Heltsley of Wheeler and Ned (Becky) Heltsley of Kansas; a sister, Margaret Raimondi of Chesterton; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; one nephew; one great-nephew; one great-niece; a daughter-in-law, Karen Pine of Martinsville; and his beloved parrot, Sadie.

Mr. Heltsley graduated from Kansas High School in 1948 and was salutatorian of his class. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University prior to earning his bachelor’s degree with high honors in agronomy and his master’s degree in crop management, both from the University of Illinois. While a student at the U of I, he was active in ROTC and was a member of Farmhouse Fraternity. After graduation, Mr. Heltsley was commissioned a second lieutenant and went on to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, serving for a number of years in military intelligence. He retired from the Army Reserves in 1969 at the rank of major.

His farming career was marked by a staunch commitment to land stewardship. He received several local and state awards recognizing his commitment to conservation farming. He was an early advocate for no-till farming, and he remained involved in agricultural research from his college years throughout his life. He was especially proud of recently completing 50 years as a board member and former secretary of the North Fork Conservancy District Board of Trustees.

Mr. Heltsley was a member of Bell Ridge Christian Church of Paris and was formerly active in Kansas Christian Church for many years. He will be remembered as a fierce Chief Illiniwek supporter, Chicago Cubs fan, flag-waving conservative, proud veteran and kind to animals.

Memorial donations may be made to Bell Ridge Christian Church.

Online condolences at www.TempletonFuneralHome.com.