Erich Helm, 92

Erich Helm, 92, of the town of Polk, passed away on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was the youngest of eight children born to Karl and Anna (nee Quendt) Helm in Eisenach, Germany.

Erich served during World War II in the German Navy as a submarine generator operator. He married Margarete Pignat on Nov, 18, 1944, in Juliusburg, Schlesien (Silesia) and moved to Leipzig, East Germany. In 1946, Erich and Margarete with their baby son fled to a small village of Oberjossa, West Germany, and there had two more sons.

Erich then worked as a mechanic at BMW until 1954 when he immigrated to Guelph, Ontario, Canada. A year later he sent for his family to join him. Later in 1955, he got a job at Ford Motor Company near Niagara Falls, New York and in 1957 finally settled in Milwaukee and worked as a modelmaker with Cutler-Hammer, Koss Corp, Proctor Gambel and various tool shops until he retired in the West Bend area in the early 1980s.

Dad enjoyed a variety of hobbies including fishing, camping vacations, a full garden, grape vines and orchard, watercolor and oil painting, home remodeling, playing violin, zither and piano, and being an all-around handyman. He was an active member of Schlesien Verein Milwaukee Inc. for 40 years. He resided in his home until March 2012 when he moved to the Lighthouse of West Bend. Erich was preceded in death by Margarete, his wife of 66 years, in December of 2010, and eight brothers and sisters.

He is survived by his three sons, Juergen (Chris) of West Bend, Rainer (Barbel) of Anchorage, Alaska, and Hans-Ulrich of Trego, Mont.; seven grandchildren, Michael, Jonathan, Kurtis, Angie, Christian, Joshua and Stephanie; four great grandchildren, Xan-der, Eric, Ryan and Caitlin; other relatives and friends in Germany, the USA and Canada.

A simple ceremony will be held on Monday, March 4, at noon at Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend with burial of the cremated remains at a later date in Diefenbach Corners Cemetery. Visitation will be at the funeral home only on Monday from 10-11:45 a.m.

The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family. Online guestbook and condolences available at

 Special thanks to the staff at the Lighthouse and St. Joseph’s Hospital for their care and kindness given to Dad.