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Groff Funeral Homes
1607 East Perkins Avenue
Sandusky, OH 44870
Phone: 419-626-3632
Fax: 419-626-2445

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Robert H. "Bob" Helfrich

Robert H. "Bob" Helfrich, 92, residing in Huron, passed away Tuesday afternoon, March 31, 2015 at Erie County Care Facility.

Bob was born on March 21, 1923 in Sandusky, OH to the late Henry and Katherine (Rinkel) Helfrich.

Bob enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp. December 8, 1942 and graduated from his pilot training April 15, 1944. He completed B-24 training as an Aircraft Commander at the David-Monthan Field and was assigned to the 98th Bomb Group at Leece, Italy. Bob received the Distinguished Flying Cross February 21, 1945 for a mission over Vienna, Austria. He returned to the United States when the war ended in Europe and was released from active duty when the war ended in the Pacific. Bob flew A-26's with the 112th Bomb Squad Ohio National Guard and was recalled to active duty in October 1950. He was assigned to Lawson Field at Fort Benning, and then assigned to Toul-Rossiere, France in 1952 and later with the 1st TacRecon Sgdn, in Spangdahlem, Germany. He then transitioned in to the RB-57's and then also the 121's when he was reassigned to McClellan Field in 1955 with 552 AEW & C Wing. He attended Command & Staff School at Maxwell Field and then was assigned to Special Air Missions at Wiesbaden, Germany. Bob volunteered for S.E.A. in 1967 and assigned to 553rd Recon Wing at Korat AB, Thailand. He completed 103 missions and in 1968 was reassigned to Special Air Missions again in Germany as a commander. In 1974, he was assigned to Rickenbacker AB as Director of Operations. Bob retired on July 1, 1977.

Bob received the Distinguished Flying Cross with 20LC, the Bronze Star, the Meritorius Service Medal with the 20LC and the Air Medal with the 70LC. His total hours of military and civilian flying hours are over 28,000, which include 1,600 combat hours.

After he retired, he and his wife opened the Baskin Robbins Ice Cream store in the Sandusky Mall. They ran it with the help of their daughter and her husband, Shirley and David, and a lot of helpful teenagers.

Bob is survived by his wife of 71 years, Gloria (Bluhm) Helfrich. He is also survived by daughters, Shirley (David) Buchholz of Sandusky and Elizabeth (Richard) Rothgeb of Bellevue; son, Robert (Mary) Helfrich Jr. of Findlay; grandchildren, David, Cindy, Timothy, Mary Michelle, Robert Christian and Christopher; great-grandchildren, Valerie, Jacob, Devin, Caleb, Shelby and Seth; sister, Kathleen Helfrich and numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.

In addition to his parents, Bob is preceded in death by his brother, Charles Helfrich in 1966.

Friends may call on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 10:00 am until the time of the funeral service at 12:00 pm at the Zion Lutheran Church, 503 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, OH. Burial will follow in Meadow Green Memorial Park, Huron. Groff Funeral Homes & Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements.

Those wishing to contribute to Bob's memory may do so to Zion Lutheran Church, 503 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, OH 44870 or to one's favorite charity.

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