Gary Helgerson

Gary Herman Helgerson, 72, of Elkader died Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at Patty Elwood Center, Country Winds Manor in Cresco following a brief illness due to dementia. A Memorial Service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 23 at Elgin Lutheran Church, Elgin, with inurnment in the Elgin Cemetery.

Visitation is scheduled from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, January 22 at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home in Elkader and after 10 a.m. until time of service Wednesday at the church. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established.

Gary was born August 28, 1946 in West Union to Herman and Marian (Schatz) Helgerson. He graduated from Valley High School in 1964. He went on to UNI at Cedar Falls, where he earned his Industrial Arts – Education Degree, graduating in 1968. He later attended Central Missouri State, where he earned his Master’s Degree in 1970. Gary went on to teach Industrial Arts and Drivers Ed at Tripoli and Denver in Iowa for 10 years before moving to Elkader to become a State Farm Insurance Agent, a position held for 39 years until he retired in 2017.

He married Kae Jeanne Thompson. Three sons were born to this union. They later divorced.

Gary was an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman.  He loved woodworking projects. He earned a black belt in Taekwondo and completed Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. He also loved watching John Wayne and Clint Eastwood westerns as well as attending Moto Guzzi Motorcycle Rallies. Gary was an instructor for Boy Scouts and Hunting Education. He served on the Conservation Board at Osborne for a number of years and was a founding member of the Clayton County Archers. Gary was past president of the Iowa Bow Hunters Association.

Survivors include his sons, Erik (Janelle) Helgerson of Lansing, and Joel Helgerson and Ryan Helgerson of Eagle River, AK; four grandchildren, Nathan, Madelyn, Caleb and Kara Helgerson; a brother, Randy Helgerson of Elgin; a sister, Dorothy (Larry) Reiling of Hawkeye; a niece, Brenda; a nephew, Brian; and many friends. Gary was preceded in death by his parents.

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Elkader is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left with

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