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April 16, 1923 ~ December 10, 2023 (age 100) 100 Years Old


Bernard "Ben" Helmbrecht passed away on December 10, 2023 at St. Clare Living Community of Mora. He was 100 years old.

Ben was born on April 16, 1923 in Howard Lake, MN to Ludwig and Theresa (Leminger) Helmbrecht. Growing up, the family lived and farmed in Howard Lake, Winsted, Annandale, and Hinckley. In 1941 Ben left the family farm and took a job with Great Northern Railway as a laborer, working with his brother Ed around Minnesota and the occasional job call to Superior Wisconsin. Then, in 1943 while working in Quamba, Ben met the love of his life, Shirley Bedore. Two years later they had their first son, Bernie. Two years after that they had their second son Allen and then the family moved to Mora where they had three more children, Judy, Rick, and Daniel.

While Shirley stayed at home, Ben continued to work for the railroad, holding various positions and finally retiring in June of 1984, with 43 years of service. Shortly after Ben retired, they took their mobile home and moved up to a quiet place across from Lake Pomroy, near their son Daniel. In their retirement years, Ben and Shirley often visited garage sales, it was one of their favorite pastimes. Ben also liked to tinker with watches, garden in the summer months, and spend time with the kids and grandkids whom he was known as "pops." He was always quick to offer words of wisdom, help someone in need, and of course have some sort of funny one-liner or joke.

After being together for 67 years, Shirley passed away in 2010. Ben remained active tinkering with different projects and teaching grandkids all the things about life. 

At age 95 he moved to St. Clare Living Community. He believed in staying busy and keeping active. He attributed it to his ability to live so long. Living there he loved to still tinker with watches, socialize with workers and other residents, and play bingo where he was the self-proclaimed "bingo champion." His generosity continued when he would give stuffed animals from bingo and candy to all those who came to visit. This April marked Ben's 100th birthday, celebrated by a big party and community car show. Ben kept all visitors and staff sharp and on their toes during his time at St. Clares. He loved his family unconditionally and will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Ben is preceded in death by his parents, 14 siblings, wife Shirley, son Bernie, and nephew David.

He is survived by his 4 remaining children, Allen of Mora, Judy (Tom) Roeschlein of Mora, Rick (Leona) of Sartell, and Daniel of Mora; 8 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and 6 great-great grandchildren, along with many other relatives and friends.

In respect of Ben's wishes, there will be no service held. A private family inurnment will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Mora.

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Private Inurnment

Oakwood Cemetery


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