Dr. Larry Carl Helms, 77, of Medford, Oregon and recently Montrose, Pennsylvania, peacefully passed away on Saturday, October 30, 2021. Larry was born October 2, 1944, to Carl and Irma Helms. He and his older sister Nancy grew up in Flint, Michigan, Larry’s birthplace. In high school, Larry was a multisport athlete, an academic scholar, and a nationally accomplished target rifleman. After graduating high school, Larry earned both his undergraduate degree and his Ph.D. in psychology from The University of Michigan. Throughout his life, he remained a fiercely loyal University of Michigan fan and would often get so nervous watching games that he’d leave the room when the scores were close! After earning his doctorate, Larry went on to pursue his postdoctoral degree in management from Harvard University and spent two years in Yugoslavia completing advanced doctoral research.
After returning to the United States, Larry began a career in public education, first serving as a small school district superintendent in Alaska, and then working at the collegiate level at both the University of Reno, Nevada and Southern Oregon State College. In 1980, he retired from public education administration and became a public speaker, which he truly enjoyed. He spoke at conferences as the keynote speaker in all fifty states and in countries throughout the world, including Tahiti, South Korea, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Larry was proud of both being a United Airlines 3 Million Miler program member as well as knowing the very best frequent flyer lounges in every major airport. Larry was a tremendous public speaker. He was a passionate auctioneer, who for many years was the auctioneer in Ellensburg, Washington, and even auctioned at the Gene Autry auction.
Beyond education, public speaking, and auctioneering, Larry had many interests and hobbies. He was an avid runner, having finished 12 marathons, including the New York and Honolulu Marathons and Disney World’s inaugural marathon race! He was civic-oriented person, spending many years as an active member of Rotary, Kiwanis, the Boys and Girls Club, the Board of the Red Cross, and the Chamber of Commerce. Larry was very social, jovial, a terrific friend, and always had a wonderful sense of humor.
More than his careers, his interests, or hobbies, Larry was most passionate about his loving family. Larry met his wife, Rae Jean in Medford, Oregon, where they both lived. At the time, Larry had an 11-year-old son, Creighton and Rae Jean had an 11-year-old son, Jesse - both from previous marriages. They dated for three years before getting married and lived happily together for 29 years. Larry and Rae Jean recently moved from Oregon to Pennsylvania, where they were building their forever house next door to Jesse. Larry leaves behind two sons Creighton Helms (Emily) Jesse Harris (Kim) , eleven grandchildren, and two great granddaughters, all of whom he was deeply proud of and who brought him immense joy.
When asked how he was doing, Larry would often reply, “If I was any better, I’d have to be twins.” He leaves behind a world full of twins, because it became a better place because of him. A small gathering of friends and family to celebrate his life will be held in Pennsylvania in late November, followed by one in Oregon hopefully in the summer. Larry would want gifts of remembrance to be made anonymously to Hearts With A Mission in Medford, Oregon.
For more information, contact: Jeanne Stallman, Executive Director, Outreach and Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org.