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Russell Wayne Helmeid passed away Oct. 26, 2009 at Beacon Hill VA Hospital, Seattle, Wash. He was 63.  - Russell Wayne Helmeid family
Russell Wayne Helmeid passed away Oct. 26, 2009 at Beacon Hill VA Hospital, Seattle, Wash. He was 63.
— image credit: Russell Wayne Helmeid family

Russell Wayne Helmeid passed away Oct. 26, 2009 at Beacon Hill VA Hospital, Seattle, Wash. He was 63.

He was born Aug. 11, 1946 in Milwaukee, Wis., the first child of Eunice P. Helmeid Haase. He was raised in the Elkhorn and Janesville, Wis., area and relocated to Fond du Lac in 1964 with his family.

Russell enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965. He joined the Green Berets in 1966 and re-enlisted in 1967. Russell volunteered for Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He was at Bien Hoa Airbase when the Tet Offensive opened, and was routed to Lang Vei Special Forces Camp (which was overrun by tanks in February 1968). Russell then joined the Marine defenders during the siege of Khe Sanh. After Vietnam, he remained in the Army with the 82nd Airborne Division until 1973. He later served in the U.S. Army Reserves (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and the Colorado National Guard.

Russell started several small businesses, including a van customizing shop, a shipwreck salvage company, and a smoked salmon production and distribution company. Since 1991, Russell lived on his sailboat, "First Light," while moored in Friday Harbor, Wash. He enjoyed his pursuits of sailing, fishing, cooking and times with his many friends on the island. (He loved to sail.)

Russell will be missed by his brothers, Ronald Helmeid (Becky) of Fond du Lac, Wis., and Richard Helmeid (Tina) of Edgerton, Wis; and his sister Janice Doss (Larry) of Rockford, Ill.

He is further survived by nieces Kelly Doss, Kimberly Doss, Sara Doss, Emily Helmeid, Eileen Helmeid, nephew Evan Helmeid, and uncle Lester (Charlotte) West.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Eunice P. Helmeid Hasse, and many aunts and uncles.

— Family of Russell Wayne Helmeid

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