Obituary of R. Donald Helenbrook
HELENBROOK - R. Donald
November 19, 2019, of Lancaster, NY. Beloved husband of Nancy (nee
Smith) Helenbrook; dear brother-in-law of Miriam and Martin Link; loving
son of the late Ray W. and Henrietta (nee Kranz) Helenbrook. No prior
visitation. Friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service Saturday
morning, December 7th, at 11 o’clock, in Watermark Wesleyan Church, 4999
McKinley Pkwy, Hamburg. Flowers gratefully declined. Memorials may
be made to SonRays Ministries, P.O. Box 673, Tonawanda, 14150.
Don was in the army in the 82nd airborne division, stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC in the 1950s. He later attended and graduated from University at Buffalo with Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1962, and earned a Master of Education degree in 1973. Don worked for a civil engineering group from the early 1970s until he retired in 2017 at the age of 83.
Don’s deep melodious announcer voice graced the radio waves of station WADV in Buffalo in the late 1970’s. He had an evening call-in show that played smooth contemporary music. His wife, Nancy recalls that each show was memorable with the many calls he took from callers. Some people even called him at home.
Don had a passion for international students and he and his wife taught classes in Conversational English for many, many years. They worked with the International Students, Inc. organization and welcomed students into their home for special dinners. Several students at University at Buffalo were Post-Doctoral and Visiting Scholars from China and other countries. One Chinese student returned to China and had her husband write an article hi-lighting the English classes she had taken with Don and Nancy. It was then published in the National edition of the Chinese paper.
Don was an avid bicycle rider who loved cycling well into his late 70’s. He and Nancy would take bikes on trips to explore new destinations, and he was a faithful participant rider in the “Ride for Roswell” fundraiser for over 10 years.
Don was a member of Watermark Wesleyan Church and a good friend to many. His upbeat attitude, strong faith, gentle smile, and wonderful sense of humor will always be remembered.