Great grandfather, grandfather, father, and husband, Helmer Theodore Undeberg, on 11/5/2015 at 5:57 p.m., left this world. His merits recognized by all who knew him, a better place than he found it. On January 2, 1925 in Karlstad, Minnesota, Helmer was born into the Great Generation, son of Helmer and Mabel (Braathen). He broke ice in the morning to wash his face, hunted deer for food, and shot bullfrogs to buy an Indian motorcycle.
After graduating from Karlstad High School in 1943, Helmer joined the Navy. He served as a Seabee in World War 11 from 1943 until 1946, stationed on Tinian in the Pacific, from which major engagements were flown. After the war, Helmer attended North Dakota University. In 1950, he married Marie Sanders at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo, North Dakota.
Helmer and Marie traveled the United States from the Midwest to the East Coast racing trotters and pacers. Helmer won many awards during this time including top driver in 1955. They settled in the Rochester area in the 1950’s, eventually buying a home near Viola, where Helmer passed peacefully with family at his side.
Helmer’s life and death is celebrated by his spouse: Marie; five children: Richard (Connie), Michael (Diane), Mark (Cristina), Ruth (Jay) McCready, and Jean (Ronald) Mullholland; 16 grandchildren, and 29 great-grandchildren, brothers, Dwight (Sharon), Dwayne (Wanda), and Paulette Kawalewski. Helmer was preceded in death by sisters, Helen, Cordelia, Elly, and Colleen and brother, Ellsworth.
Helmer, dedicated to family and work, made his living as a farrier and blacksmith. He shod horses in Olmsted County for almost 40 years. His expertise, recognized by several higher educational institutions, led to teaching assignments at the University of Minnesota, Waseca; River Falls, Wisconsin; and Cobleskill New York. Helmer was a member of the Eyota American Legion.
His family loves and remembers him for the things that brought him joy: being young enough, when old, to sled with his children at midnight on Christmas Eve, to teach his sons to hunt the right way, to love the Mississippi River and to share that love with his children and grandchildren through annual island camp-outs, featuring breakfast on the beach with blueberry pancakes and hook-baiting seminars with the resulting evening fish fry.
Funeral Mass is Wednesday, November 11, 11:00 a.m. at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Eyota with Father Kurt Farrell officiating. Burial is at the Holy Redeemer Cemetery with military grave side rites conducted by the Eyota American Legion. Visitation is Tuesday, 5-7:30 p.m. at Schad & Zabel Funeral Home in Eyota and 1 hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday. A prayer service will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.