Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Midwest Fly Fishing" Publisher Tom Helgeson Dies


Thomas Helgeson age 71, of Minneapolis, died Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, after a brief battle with  cancer. His profound love of the outdoors shaped and defined his life, many of his friendships and much of his work. He lived with a firm belief that the rivers and streams of the Midwest are sacred places that need to be protected. He published Midwest Fly Fishing magazine, which celebrated the sport and the environment. He conducted annual fly fishing expos in Chicago and Minneapolis and owned Vermilion Sporting Arts Gallery in St. Louis Park. He was raised in Redwood Falls, graduated from St. Olaf College and served in the Marine Corps as an infantry and artillery communications officer. For nearly two decades, he worked as an editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Helgeson also worked for The City Inc. and other organizations that serve at-risk youth. In recent years, Helgeson led fly fishing schools in the Midwest and on the Henry's Fork and Missouri rivers in the West. He made annual fishing trips to Alaska, most recently to Kodiak Island. He also loved fly fishing for tarpon in the Florida Keys and along the Gulf Coast, where he landed several tarpon over 100 pounds. He was preceded in death by his mother, Joy Helgeson, and father, Elmer Helgeson. He is survived by his wife, Julie; son, Baird; daughter- in-law Kathy Helgeson; two grandchildren, Grayson Thomas and Zachary Heath; daughter, Carrie Helgeson; sister Bertina Busch; brother- in-law, Noel Busch; several nieces and nephews. There will be a memorial service Saturday, 2 p.m., at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul. Memorials preferred to Minnesota Trout Unlimited or Guadalupe Alternative Programs in St. Paul.
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