July 4, 1923 - August 16, 2017
Donald Nils Heltenen of Grand Ledge, Michigan, passed away on August 16, 2017, at the age of 94. He was born July 4, 1923 to the late Fred and Helmi (Huru) Heltenen in Lansing. Don was a WWII U.S. Army Sergeant. As a severely wounded Purple Heart recipient who, like many of his generation, went on to achieve his personal goals, Donproudly counseled and encouraged disabled Vietnam Veterans. He graduated from GM Institute as an industrial engineer and retired from Lansing GM plants after 30 years. He attended Wacousta Community United Methodist Church and was a member ofthe Wacousta-DeWitt Masonic Lodge. Don was proud of his Finnish and Upper Peninsula heritage. He loved the outdoors, ice fishing, and hunting. He applied his love for tools and machines to an excavation business and workshop in his barn.Determined to build and fix his own things, hewas skilled in many trades and a master tinker with a reputationfor having hard to find tools and parts. His buddies joked about all the stuff he collected. Others joked about his insatiable love for ice cream, chocolate, and peanut butter. Many remember Don and his wife Shirley, who he dearly loved, as long-standing central figures in the Wacousta community, social, generous, with a true gift for helping others. Don is survived by his daughters, Janet (Bill) Hanson, Karen (Mike) Milligan and Ruth Ann (Frank) Soave; son, Fred Heltenen (Geradine); grandchildren, Lauren (Lee) Gramling, Jennifer Soave, Nick Hanson, Annika Hanson, Mark Hanson and Ian Milligan; great-grandchildren, Brennan and Millie Gramling and sister, Greta Sinko, as well as, many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, and sister, Doris Wisehart. A military graveside service will be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:00 a.m. at the Wacousta Cemetery in Watertown Township. Arrangements by Holihan-Atkin-Barclay Funeral Home& Cremation Services, Grand Ledge. Memorial contributions may be given to the Disabled American Veterans Memorial Program, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250 or Great Lakes Caring Hospice Foundation, 900 Cooper Street, Jackson, Michigan 49202.
Donald Nils Heltenen of Grand Ledge, Michigan, passed away on August 16, 2017, at the age of 94. He was born July 4, 1923 to the late Fred and Helmi (Huru) Heltenen in Lansing. Don was a WWII U.S. Army Sergeant. As a severely wounded Purple... View Obituary & Service Information
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