Obituary: Jim Helset

Leonard James (Jim) Helset April 19, 1953 – July 23, 2022

Sadly, we have lost our big bear of a husband, stepdad, stepgrandpa, brother, uncle, papa and friend to a tough battle with sepsis. Middle child of Torbjorn (Ted) and Jenny Helset, he was known to many “Salters” as a darned-good architectural designer. He'll be missed by wife Carol, “kids” Jeff, Diane and Matthew Gow, sisters Clara Ritcey and Ellen (Kelly) Ferguson, brothers Roy and Harold (Judy) Helset, brother-in-law Bob (Angele) Black, sister-in-law Barbara (Don) Ausman, many nieces & nephews, and his special family, the McArens.

Jim was raised in the Clearwater, B.C. area – not too far from Helmcken Falls – where his Dad was a well-known big game guide. He had an interesting childhood – disappearing for days, on horseback, to hunt and to fish. His first 5 years of schooling were in a one-room school house, and for the remainder of the years, he was bussed to Clearwater.

Jim spent a year at Cariboo College, Kamloops, in an accelerated architectural drafting and design certificate program. There were no architectural jobs available upon his graduation, so he moved to Calgary where, for several years, he worked as a contract draftsperson in the energy sector specializing in high pressure piping systems. He then joined Gemini Engineering, initially as a contract draftsperson but shortly became a full time employee. He advanced to the role of Chief Draftsperson and was instrumental in building a talented and well performing drafting department. Jim was able to use his technical expertise, practical viewpoints and infectious smile to get his points across. He also worked to advance their skills into the computer age and developed computer-aided drafting systems. A highlight for several years was his filling in for Santa Claus at the Children’s Christmas parties.

Jim and Carol moved to Salt Spring in 1991, had a major house fire in 1993, rebuilt, and Jim worked out of there – as Helset Design – until his passing. As a testament to his abilities, he was never without work throughout those 31 years.

Jim was a great cook, and when time permitted, he dabbled in the arts – sculpting in soapstone, metals and woods. He and Carol spent 14 years manufacturing metal spiderwebs – as Webs n' Things – often selling at the Saturday Market and at Artcraft.

Jim was especially proud of his long-time Rotarian membership. He made some wonderful friends, there, and loved working on their various projects. He spent many an enjoyable hour helping to create our waterfront mermaid, Nerissa.

Jim's friends often commented on his wealth of knowledge and his ability to retain trivia. It was not uncommon for him to surprise his doctors with his knowledge of all things medical. He was kind and strong, and he loved to laugh.

Jim would want to thank his wonderful doctor and hero, Ron Reznick, and Ron's “boss” Jean for all of their over-and-above care through the years.

No flowers by request, please, but donations in Jim's memory would be welcomed at our SPCA at P.O. Box 522, Salt Spring Island, B.C., V8K 2W2.

Meet me on The Far Side Banks of Jordan, Jimmy.

July 26, 2022 1:00 PM

  • Claudia says:

    Oh Carol, I am so sorry to see this notice. I will always remember Jim as a generous, warm individual with such a lovely smile and engaging personality. He will be missed by so many in the community. Much Love, Claudia French

  • Jacki Martin says:

    Jim shared his architect's skills willingly and without compromise when we needed his advice on a sketchy project. He was the man to ask when you were uncertain about your plans, because he was so solid in his trade. You can't ask for a better man. Jacki & Martin

  • harry warner says:

    Jim was a lovely person!

  • Eugene Migus says:

    Carol, so sorry to see this sad news. We will always remember how you and Jim warmly welcomed us as neighbours. Our sincere condolences to you and your family.

  • Jo-Anne Eggen says:

    Carol, I'm so sorry to hear this news. He seemed kind of indestructible. So you go from being half of a lovely couple to a lovely single person.
    Jo-Anne Eggen

  • Carol Helset says:

    Thanks, Claudia. He WAS pretty special, in so many ways, & he was my rock! Big sigh......

  • Carol Helset says:

    Hi Jacki, So glad Jim was able to help you. I remember he'd been asked some tough question & his answer would usually start with "that's dead easy!"..... Pretty smart fella! Thanks for commenting!

  • Carol Helset says:

    And I agree Harry --- thanks!

  • Carol Helset says:

    Hi Eugene. It was a surprise to hear from you --- but thanks for lovely comment. He was a good guy!!

    I hope things are going well with you and the family. We've replaced ducks with dogs, now. :o)

  • Carol Helset says:

    What a lovely comment, Jo-Anne - & yes - he DID seem kind of indestructible, didn't he! He was certainly MY rock - and how I wish he could be reading these comments! Thanks for posting!