Burt Duane Helmke

May 26, 1924, February 26, 2019

Burt Helmke

Burt Duane Helmke, 94, of The Woodlands, Texas (formerly of Nederland, Texas) passed away on February 26, 2019.

A second-generation American, Burt was born in Keystone, Iowa, on May 26, 1924, to Frank and Edna (Klappholz) Helmke. In 1928, he and his family moved to Beaumont, Texas, when his father accepted a job with the Austin Construction Company. Burt achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 1938 and graduated from South Park High School in Beaumont, Texas, in 1941, where he played football and established lasting friendships. He was a forever-loyal Greenie.

Burt enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942 and served during World War II as Radioman 1st Class aboard the US Naval destroyer U.S.S. Jeffers, Atlantic Fleet. His military service included participation in five major military invasions in both the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign and the Asiatic Pacific Campaign. The U.S.S. Jeffers was in close proximity to the location of Japan’s formal surrender, and Burt was able to observe the ceremony via binoculars.

On September 14, 1946, Burt married Bessie Louise Phillips in Beaumont, Texas, where they resided for many years in the South Park community, before moving to Nederland, Texas, in 1969. He was a graduate of Texas A&M University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in August 1949. Burt’s enduring love for Texas A&M and Aggie football, which he shared with his children and grandchildren, inspired several of them to follow in his footsteps to Aggieland. He had a long, successful career in the oil industry, retiring in 1986 from the Gulf Oil/Chevron Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, as a manager in the Engineering Division.

Burt enjoyed being outdoors, watching Aggie football, playing golf, staying abreast of politics and world events, and spending quality time with his family. He was a keen gardener and was always happy to share his knowledge and skills with others. Burt was a longstanding member of First Baptist Church in Nederland, Texas, and South Park Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.

Burt is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 72 years, Bessie; his children, Luanna (Will) Wilson, The Woodlands, TX; Laurie (Johnny) Jordan, The Woodlands, TX; Phillip (Pattye) Helmke, Nederland, TX; Bonnie (Kirt) Gaspard, Nederland, TX; his grandchildren, Kristen (Joe) Woodcox, Allison (Brady) Barras, John Jordan Jr., Emily (Eric) LeBlanc, Beau Helmke, John Graves Jr., Austin Gaspard; his great-grandchildren, Drew Woodcox, Wilson Woodcox, Annabella Woodcox, Vivienne Wilson, Olivia LeBlanc, Brody LeBlanc; and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, James “Jimmie” Robert Helmke, and his sister, Lois Helmke Roop Eginton.

Burt was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who will be forever missed.    A personification of The Greatest Generation, he embodied duty, courage, service, responsibility, and love of God, family, and country.   These virtues which comprised his character will remain in his family members’ hearts and minds as not only examples to follow, but lasting memories of the honorable life he led.

A gathering of Mr. Helmke’s family and friends will begin at 1:00 p.m., with his funeral service at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland. His entombment will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Baptist Church, 1911 Nederland Avenue, Nederland, TX 77627; or a charity of your choice.

Gathering of Family and Friends
Broussard's Mortuary - Nederland
505 N 12th Street Nederland, TX 77627
Saturday, March 02, 2019
1:00 p.m.
Funeral Service
Broussard's Mortuary - Nederland
505 N 12th Street Nederland, TX 77627
Saturday, March 02, 2019
2:00 p.m.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
4955 Pine St Beaumont, TX 77703

Comments (6)


    02 March 2019 at 15:37 | #

    Laurie, I'm sorry for the loss of your daddy. My deepest condolences to you and your family.


  • Martha St. Romain Avery

    01 March 2019 at 16:45 | #

    My deepest condolences. He was a precious dear man and I have such fond memories how good he was to me growing up in and around the Helmke Home. Prayers for peace and comfort at this time. Martha


  • Karen Lynne Cramar

    01 March 2019 at 05:58 | #

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. He was a great man.


  • Jeff Mansfield

    28 February 2019 at 20:27 | #

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Mr Helmke was such a good neighbor. All of my memories of him are good ones.


  • Diane Dusek

    27 February 2019 at 19:32 | #

    I am so sorry about the passing of Mr. Helmke. His daughter, Laurie Jordan, is one of my dearest friends and I felt like I knew him and the wonderful person he was through the conversations I had with Laurie. May he rest in peace.


  • Miri am Cade Nichol

    27 February 2019 at 16:23 | #

    Greenie prayers for the families


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