Jack Samuel Helsdon passed away on January 15, 2019 at maple Manor Nursing home in Tillsonburg. Born October 31, 1925, the only son of Samuel Martin Helsdon and Phyllis (Newman) Helsdon, Jack was a fourth-generation Helsdon in the Tillsonburg area.
Jack is survived by his three children – Phyllis Anne (Sandy) Thompson and Gary, David Samuel Helsdon and Miriam, and Randall Alexander Helsdon and Margaret Mackay.
He will be greatly missed by his grandchildren: Bryan Wade Thompson, Charlotte Mary Cantin (Brad), Emily Anne Helsdon, Lydia Jean Munchinsky (Marty), Jack Steven Helsdon and Cooper Harrison Helsdon Mackay, and great-grandchildren Liam Samuel Cantin, Arya Isabel and William David Munchinsky. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were a special delight to Jack and their many visits along with many friends and relatives, during his nearly six years at Maple Manor, were responsible for those big smiles.
Jack is also survived by sisters Mary Bartlett and Dorothy Fuller and by special cousins, nieces and nephews and lifelong friends, including Ken Webster who has been his especially caring roommate for the last several years at Maple Manor.
He is predeceased by his loving, supportive wife of almost 69 years, Mary Ellen (Bacheldor) Helsdon who passed in 2015, just one month before their 69th anniversary; his father, Samuel Martin Helsdon (1935); his mother, (Phyllis Newman) Helsdon (1983); step-father Norman Chambers; brothers-in-law George Jenkins Sr., Ivan Bartlett and Arthur Fuller Sr., and sister Margaret Jenkins (Mar 2018).
Jack, his mother and sisters moved to Tillsonburg in 1935 after the death of his father. It was a blessing for Jack, his mother and his sisters to all live in Tillsonburg and area and to share good health and long life together. A delightful and unusual feature of life in Tillsonburg was the locations they called home. His mother and sisters moved to a home on Lisgar Avenue, while Jack lived with his grandparents (on Frank Street), right near Lake Lisgar. He built his first house at 103 Lisgar Ave., and then his second house at 143 Lisgar Ave. After retirement, Jack, Mary Ellen and son Randy lived at the family cottage near Wiarton before moving to Lake Havasu, Arizona, in 1976. They moved back to Tillsonburg in 1983, residing at 148 Concession Street, on the site of the former Tillsonburg High School that he attended.
Jack built the first 5-inch, black and “green” TV receiver in the area from war asset parts, the only signal at the time coming from Detroit, Michigan. Jack was service manager at Heath’s department store from 1947 to 1957, before starting his own business – Tri-County TV Ltd. – in 1957, retiring from the business in 1973.
Jack was actively engaged in Christian service since making his own commitment to Christ in 1941. Jack and Mary Ellen were early supporters of World Vision, sponsoring children, first from Korea, and continuing throughout their marriage and also “adopted” a “big sister” to Sandy and David, Laura Campbell, when they were growing up. Jack was also a lay preacher, as his father had been, and preached in over 60 churches throughout his lifetime, in Tillsonburg area, Owen Sound and Lake Havasu. He and Mary Ellen were Gideons for over fifty years, youth leaders at First Baptist Church and lifelong members of North Broadway Baptist Church where Jack served as deacon and Bible teacher. Other numerous acts of service and kindness will be remembered by many who were personally blessed by the lives of Jack and Mary Ellen Helsdon.
The family wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the caring staff at Maple Manor Nursing Home. Dad often said “It’s like one big family here.” The attentive care that he was given in his final days was truly exceptional. We thank you!
To all who were able to visit Jack during his years at Maple Manor, we want you to know that you brightened his days immensely.
Should you wish to make a charitable donation in memory of Jack you might consider: Maple Manor Nursing Home – Activities Department, Gideons Canada, North Broadway Baptist Church or another charity of your choice.