American Patriotic 10

Francis L. Helsel

October 12, 1926 ~ January 31, 2021 (age 94)


Helsel, Francis L., 94, Portage, PA, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2021. Born October 12, 1926 in Blue Knob, PA to John and Flavia Helsel and resided in Portage all his life. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 64 years Virginia (Tishner) who passed on January 6, 2019. They were married November 11, 1955. Also preceding him in death were his father, mother and six brothers and sisters. He proudly served his country during WW II in the Navy. After returning from the Navy he worked numerous local area jobs before landing a permanent position with Bethlehem Steel Johnstown where he worked for 36 years in various divisions before retiring in 1983. Fran was an avid outdoors man, loved to hunt for just about everything, an expert marksman with a pistol, looked forward to trap shooting with his friends and always had time to go picking mushrooms with his pals. He was a lifelong member of the Portage Revolver and Pistol Club, serving as an officer for over 20 years. He was a member of Black Squirrel Camp and enjoyed many, many campfires and laughs with his friends and family. He was a member of the American Legion and Moose in Portage as well as lifetime member of the NRA. Fran always had a flair for storytelling and one liners. He was someone that could make anybody smile and he was good at it. His pastimes always included his wife, Gini, and whether it was a Sunday ride, ice cream, an afternoon Sippy or time spent with his grandchildren he was happy. His passion, however, was cutting grass and keeping his yard in pristine shape. He earned the nickname, “The Lawn Ranger” from his son years ago. Fran is survived by his son Jeffrey Helsel, partner Virginia Brunozzi both of Bloomsburg PA and two grandchildren, Elizabeth Helsel, Allentown, PA and Margaret Helsel, Nashville, TN. Services will be private for the family and celebrations of life will be planned at a later date for family and friends. In lieu of gifts, the family asks that you call a family member or friend you haven’t seen or heard from in a while to say hello and maybe share a joke to make them smile. The Helsel family is being served by the Serenko-Claar Funeral Home, PC, Portage. 

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