Patrick John Helixon, age 85, of Menomonie, passed away at his home on Friday, June 22, 2018. Pat is together again with his beloved wife of 59 years, Janette.
Pat was born in Marshfield, on November 16, 1932, the son of Timothy and Anna (Stauber) Helixon. He was the youngest of nine children, graduating from Marshfield High School.
He attended Wisconsin State College at Stevens Point, where he played basketball. He then transferred to Wisconsin State College at Eau Claire. In 1953, he enlisted in the Army. Pat was a fire direction teacher and quickly advanced to sergeant. He volunteered to be deployed to Korea. While on leave, he met the love of his life, Janette Pfahning, in Julie’s Bar and Grill in Marshfield. Not surprisingly, their dates often centered around ball games.
After returning from Korea, he completed his bachelor’s degree in social studies at Eau Claire. Pat’s college football and baseball teams both won conference championships. On August 24, 1957, Pat and Jan were married, and they honeymooned on Potato Lake.
Pat spent the first five years of his teaching and coaching career at Augusta High School. During the summers, they would pack up and move to Madison, where Pat earned his master’s degree in physical education. In 1963, he moved his growing family to Menomonie, where he was a physical education teacher for nine elementary schools. He also coordinated the elementary basketball program. Pat coached the boys basketball, football, girls softball, and girls basketball teams. Many of Pat’s summers were spent coaching the American Legion baseball, The Main Place women’s softball, and the Menomonie Blues men’s fastpitch softball teams. Pat’s four children were fortunate to have their dad coach them along the way.
Pat and Jan owned and operated The Pub and My Style. They were blessed with many years of camping, bowling, golfing, attending sporting events, and visiting cities and towns with casinos. He retired in 1990 and said, “I have found retirement to be the best job I ever had and want to devote as much time as possible to it.”
Pat suffered a stroke in 2015 while he and Jan were vacationing at their favorite casino city, Laughlin, NV. He was frustrated with the limitations the stroke put on him, but his love for Jan kept him strong while she struggled with breast cancer. Pat was by her side in their home when she passed away peacefully on September 18, 2016. Pat passed away on what would have been his mother’s 129th birthday and just in time for Jan’s birthday. What a party they must be having!
Pat was truly in his profession to help young people grow. He was sharp until his passing, completing the crossword and Sudoku puzzles in the daily newspaper. He remembered every student he taught and every athlete he coached and usually had a funny story about them. His sense of humor was contagious.
Survivors include four children, Joel (Linda) Helixon of Tucson, AZ.; Lora (Brian) Benrud of Menomonie; Jenny Benedict (Terry Gilbertson) of Eau Claire; and Chris (Tracy) Helixon of Onalaska.
He is also survived by twelve grandchildren, Adam and Heather Bird, and Jay Helixon; Andy (Siri), Matt (Jenny), Nikki, and Jimmy (Maddy) Benrud; Bailey and Kerry Benedict; and Isaac, Michael, and Ellie Helixon; eight great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law Gloria Helixon of Phillips, Lavene Helixon of England, Dee Goldbach of Townsend, TN, Laney (Mike) Wohlgemuth of Morgan Hill, CA, Fran Pfahning-Baldwin of Kalispell, MT, Mary Ann Eckes of Eau Claire; brother-in-law Dan (Terrill) Pfahning of Kalispell, MT, and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Pat was preceded in death by his wife Jan in 2016 and his mother in 1983. His father passed away in 1935, when Pat was two years old. Four sisters and a brother passed away before he was born: Joseph in 1910, Anna Marie in 1918, Beatrice and Ruth Alice in 1928, and Arnoldine in 1929. Three more brothers preceded him in death, Tim in 1990, Ray in 1999, and Dennie in 2011; as well as brothers-in-law Jim and Rick Pfahning and Paul Goldbach and sister-in-law Tillie Helixon.
Memorial services will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, July 13, 2018 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Menomonie, with Rev. John Mano officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services at church on Friday. After the services, a Celebration of Pat’s Life will be held from 5-9 pm at Tanglewood Greens in Menomonie. A private burial will be held at a later date.