With heavy heart and great sadness…
Helmer Duane Danielson (Ham) passed away on the morning of October 17, 2023, at age 81.
Helmer was born to Francis and Thea Danielson in Galesville, WI on November 10, 1941. His family
moved a few times before finally settling at the farm on West Road in Black River Falls, WI in 1952. He
graduated from Black River Falls High School in 1959. Shortly after high school, Helmer proudly joined
the US Navy and served on the Admirals ship USS Eldorado as a machinist.
After his stint in the US Navy, he came back to Black River Falls. A short time later, on a blind date to the
Westby Ski Jump with his brother Laverne and future sister-in-law Karen (Buttke), he met Judy Gaede,
the love of his life.
Helmer and Judy married on March 15, 1964. They lived in Black River Falls their entire 59 years
together and raised three children, Duane, Brian, and Mary Beth.
A hard-working man, Helmer worked as a machinist his entire career. He worked at Nelson Muffler, and
D&S Steel, where he ultimately retired from.
His real passion, however, was working in the cemetery. He was the Cemetery Sexton for Little Norway
Lutheran Church for several years, as well as Head Usher. He sold and set monuments and dug many
graves throughout Jackson County with his father and sons (and occasionally a brother or two) at his
side. A job some might find morbid, but to Helmer it was a job that needed to be done, and he did that
job with pride and respect.
Helmer loved golfing with Judy, his children, and other family members. Bingo Bango Bongo was usually
part of his golf game, along with an occasional “did your skirt fly up in your face” asked by Judy when he
would come up short on a putt. And although Helmer was no Jack Nicklaus, he still managed a hole in
one in the summer of 1998.
His lefse-making skills will be greatly missed. The few thousand lefse Helmer and Judy made over the
years, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas, were enjoyed by many. Hunters in the Danielson family
always had a pocket of lefse in the woods.
Helmer is survived by his wife of 59 years, Judy; his children Duane (Nancy) Danielson, Brian (Linda)
Danielson, Mary Danielson; grandchildren Ben (Lexi) Danielson, Matthew (Ashley) Danielson, Ethan
Danielson, Jeremy Danielson; great-grandchild Brooks Danielson; nephew Dan (Jennifer) McKevitt, as
well as many other nieces and nephews. He is further survived by his siblings, Darlene Hansen, Betsey
(Leon) Janssen, Sharon Peterson, Ron Danielson, and Karl (Betty) Danielson).
He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Thea Danielson; an infant brother; brother Laverne
Danielson; sister Mary McKevitt; brothers-in-law James and Allen Gaede, Gerald Ripp, Donald Hansen,
and Robert Peterson; and sister-in-law Sheila Danielson.
Funeral services will be held at Little Norway Lutheran Church on November 4, 2023, at noon, with a
private graveside burial, followed by a celebration for Helmer at Skyline Gold Course from 2-6pm. The
celebration for Helmer at Skyline will be just that. We ask that family and friends join us in doing so. As
Helmer would have said, “come on in if your face is clean, and let’s have a barley pop.”
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Little Norway Lutheran Cemetery.
The family would like to thank Black River Memorial Hospital for their care of Helmer the last couple of
years especially. To Steve Collins and also Marla and Darryl Nelson, you were always quick to help out.
Thank you! And to Uncle Ron, it was a blessing for dad to have you so close by. Seeing him get excited
about a ride with you was priceless. Thank you for always being there!
Torgerson’s Funeral Home of Black River Falls is assisting the family, 715-284-4321.