FISHER — Robert Dean Helbling, 87, father of a Paxton resident, died Saturday, Oct. 25, 2019.
Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the River Valley Church of Christ in Fisher, followed at 11 a.m. by a funeral service at the church. Burial will be immediately after the service at Willowbrook Cemetery in Fisher with a luncheon to follow at the church. Lamb Funeral Home in Gibson City is in charge of arrangements.
Known by all as “Bob,” Mr. Helbling was born June 13, 1932, in Gridley to the late William Otto and Faye Ione (Hewitt) Helbling. He served for four years in the U.S. Air Force as a jet engine technician. During the Korean War, he maintained F-86 fighter jet engines while being stationed at George Air Force Base in California.
Upon his discharge from the Air Force, Mr. Helbling joined the civil service ranks at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, where he excelled as a jet engine instructor and eventually in the Training Aids Division where he spent many years managing the shop operations. Of the many projects that he managed, the full-scale space shuttle emergency rescue trainer and the missile system trainer were some of the most memorable.
After retiring from civil service at Chanute, he enjoyed working with a good friend remodeling homes and doing anything related to houses or cars, especially Studebakers.
Mr. Helbling was married for 66 years to his best friend, Leatrice Joyce (Bundy) Helbling. He enjoyed working with his hands and could repair or build just about anything, including two homes that he and his wife lived in.
Faith, family and country were dear to him. His relationship with the Lord was evident by his love and dedication to his wife, family and the River Valley Church of Christ. His own walk with the Lord, as well as that of his family, was his top priority. He enjoyed making people smile and laugh. He will be remembered most of all for his love.
Survivors include his wife, Leatrice Helbling; his daughters, Lynnette Reppert (John) of Paxton and Terry James (Randy) of Manchaca, Texas; a son, David Helbling (Laura) of Mahomet; his grandchildren, Matt James, Mindy James Tolbert (Jason), Kallie James Wilson (Bryan), Joseph Reppert (Lena), Jaime Reppert Vance (TJ), Megan Helbling and Mark Helbling; his great-grandchildren, Tyler James (Victoria), Colton Tolbert, Ryan James, Augustino Reppert, Vivian Vance, Colton Vance and Mason Vance; his nephews Roger Helbling and Steve Helbling; and a niece, Susan Helbling Hasler.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Faye Ione; his brothers, Roger and William; and two nephews, Thomas Helbling and Michael Helbling.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Good News Radio WGNN.