Obituary: Edward F. Helminski Jr., retired director of Boys & Girls Club

Edward F. Helminski Jr.
Edward F. Helminski Jr.

Edward F. Helminski Jr., a gentleman and a gentle man; the retired director of the Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield, died on Friday, August 3, 2018 at Laurel Ridge Health Care Center the age of 80. He retired in 2000 after 40 years of service.

Ed was born in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 18, 1938. He was the son of Edward and Marcella Helminski and grew up in the nearby town of Barrackville. While attending Barrackville High School he lettered in football, basketball and baseball. In 1956, his senior year, he was selected to the WV All State Football Team. Barrackville is located in Marion County and it is an area known for producing famous athletes, including Sam Huff of the New York Giants, Olympian, Marylou Retton and Alabama football coach, Nick Saban.

Ed attended Potomac State College where he received a scholarship and graduated with an Associate’s degree in 1958. At Potomac he played football and baseball. With another scholarship he continued his studies at Fairmont State College, graduating in 1960 with a B.S. in Recreation. He played football and baseball and was the leading rusher on the undefeated 1959 football team. For his sports accomplishments, Ed Was elected to The Fairmont College Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Potomac State Athletic Hall of Fame. After college Ed spent one summer playing baseball for a Chicago Cubs farm team.

It was at Fairmont State that Ed attended a recruiting seminar given by the Boys Club of America. He came to Ridgefield in December 1960 to be interviewed for the position of Assistant Director under Ralph B, Crouchley. Vivian Commons, chairman of the club’s Board of Directors, offered Ed the position in 1961. Shortly after starting work, he was drafted and spent 2 years in the Army, before being discharged in November 1963. He became the Director of the Boys Club upon the retirement of Mr. Crouchley in 1970. Ed lead the charge in admitting Girls to the club in 1980. He was assisted by long time assistant director Mike “Buddha” Bedini.

In addition to his work at the club, Ed played in Ridgefield’s fast pitch softball league with Ridgefield Supply and Nina’s. He also played for Towne Spirit in the slow pitch league. During that time Town Spirit won 10 league championship. in 1998 Ed was nominated to the Connecticut Softball Hall of Fame.

In later years Ed enjoyed taking daily long walks or playing golf along the Hudson River near Hyde Park, NY.

In 2006 Ed received a Special Award from the Ridgefield Old Timers Association for his contributions to the youth of Ridgefield. Old Timers Chairman and current Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi remarked, “There couldn't be a more appropriate recipient of the Old Timers’ Special Award.

With Ed's passing, the “Old Ridgefield” page on Facebook has been filled with testimonials to him; such as from Rob Stefanelli…”feels like losing a little bit of my childhood,” and Bob Hogan…” Gentle, kind, compassionate and disciplined. I learned a lot from this man, a role model for me, but most of all he taught and practiced unconditional love. A true legend, one of a kind. thank you Ed, we all thank you.”

Ed is predeceased by his parents and younger brother Marion. He is survived by a son, Edward “Kevin” Stiles, a niece Michelle Porter and a great nephew Joey Porter, all of Fairmont, W.Va. Memorial Mass in honor of E’'s life will take place on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 10:15 AM at St. Mary’s Church, 55 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. Interment will be private; there will be no calling hours.  

Contributions it Ed’s memory can be made to The Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield: 41 Governor Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877. Kane Funeral Home is in care of funeral arrangements.