FISHER — On Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, Robert Dean Helbling, loving husband and father of three, entered his Savior’s presence at the age of 87.
Known by all as Bob, he was born on June 13, 1932, in Gridley, to the late William Otto and Faye Ione (Hewitt) Helbling.
Bob served for four years in the U.S. Air Force as a jet engine technician. During the Korean War, he maintained F-86 fighter jet engines while being stationed at George Air Force Base in California.
Upon his discharge from the Air Force, Bob joined the civil service ranks at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, where he excelled as a jet engine instructor, and eventually in the Training Aids Division, where he spent many years managing the shop operations. Of the many projects that he managed, the full scale Space Shuttle emergency rescue trainer and the missile system trainer were some of the most memorable.
After retiring from civil service at Chanute, he enjoyed working with a good friend remodeling homes and doing anything related to houses or cars, especially Studebakers.
Bob was married for 66 years to his best friend, Leatrice Joyce (Bundy) Helbling.
Bob enjoyed working with his hands and could repair or build just about anything, including two homes where he and Leatrice lived.
Faith, family and country were dear to him. His relationship with the Lord was evident by his love and dedication to his wife, family and River Valley Church of Christ. His own walk with the Lord, as well as that of his family, was his top priority.
He enjoyed making people smile and laugh. He will be remembered most of all for his love.
Survivors include his wife Leatrice Helbling; daughters, Lynnette Reppert (John) of Paxton and Terry James (Randy) of Manchaca, Texas; and son, David Helbling (Laura) of Mahomet; grandchildren, Matt James, Mindy James Tolbert (Jason), Kallie James Wilson (Bryan), Joseph Reppert (Lena), Jaime Reppert Vance (TJ), Megan Helbling and Mark Helbling; great-grandchildren, Tyler James (Victoria), Colton Tolbert, Ryan James, Augustino Reppert, Vivian Vance, Colton Vance; Mason Vance; nephews, Roger Helbling and Steve Helbling, and niece, Susan Helbling Hasler.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, William and Faye Ione; his brothers, Roger and William; and two nephews, Thomas Helbling and Michael Helbling.
A visitation for family and friends was 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, with a funeral service at 11 a.m.; services were at River Valley Church of Christ in Fisher. Burial was afterward at Willowbrook Cemetery in Fisher with a luncheon following at the church.
Memorials may be made to Good News Radio WGNN.
Lamb Funeral Home in Gibson City is in charge of arrangements. Memories may be shared at lambyoungfh.com.