Robert “Bob” Andrew Helms passed away in the early hours of the morning on March 26, 2019, due to his ongoing battle with cancer. He passed quietly, as was his nature, surrounded by his family and close family friends who had taken time out of their lives to spend those extra moments with him.
Robert was born in Newark, New Jersey, on Nov. 22, 1961, to William and Roseanne Helms, he was their second of four children: William, Robert, Karen and Lori. He spent his childhood playing baseball as a catcher, tennis and hockey on the river behind his house. Sports were a constant throughout his life, as a player and a coach, and they were forever on the TV. He attended Binghamton University, where he played tennis for their college team and obtained a BS in history.
He met the love of his life, Diane Dlugatch, in 1984 when he was 22 and she was 19. Though they attended the same schools growing up, they didn’t know each other truly until then, working for the same candy wholesale company, where they shared an office. Within a year-and-a-half they were married on Sept. 7, 1985.
They would go on to share 33 years of marriage, and on March 22, 2019, they were able to celebrate the 34th anniversary of his proposal. Memories were shared between the two and his childhood best friend, Mark Gandulla, who shared the comical journey they went on to get the ring, which resulted in a broken-down car with a busted radiator, an egg and a sock. The days leading up to his passing were filled with tears, yes, but also a lot of love and laughter. Three years into their marriage they welcomed a daughter, Amanda Helms, and a year-and-a-half later a son, Robert D. Helms.
In 1992, he would move the family to Tupper Lake as the warehouse manager at the local candy wholesaler, where they were welcomed into the community and chose to stay to raise their children. Both would then go on to become entwined in the community. Bob was very active with the Tupper Lake Hockey Association as a coach and parent supporting his son and daughter. He became a joint business owner with his wife in 1995, and together they were active participants in the high school student foreign exchange program with the “adoption” of his son Marek, and would in his later years work with the mentally impaired.
Bob was known for his quick wit, his no-nonsense attitude, his quick middle finger and his quiet, steady love for his family, especially his wife. Throughout the years he acquired multiple extended “children” and pets into his household. He loved to garden, especially lilies, a quiet fishing spot on the lake, his house in South Carolina and his dog Olivia.
Bob was predeceased by his grandparents William and Helen Helms and Thomas and Theresa Purcell, all of Newark, New Jersey. He is survived by his loving wife Diane Helms of Tupper Lake; his daughter Amanda Helms of Watertown; his son Robert D. Helms of Tupper Lake; his foreign exchange son Marek Sedlak of Bratislava, Slovakia; his future son-in-law Joseph Ybanez of Watertown; his siblings William Helms of Woodbourne, Karen Valdivia and her sons Noah and Joshua of Peekskill, Lori Hoffmann and her husband Michael Hoffmann along with their children Matthew, Patrick and Lauren of Carmel; his parents William and Roseanne Helms of Woodbourne; and his in-laws Donald and Violet Dlugatch of South Fallsburg.
We’d also like to recognize his extended children and pets as they all meant so much to him. He is also predeceased by his loving dogs Gracie, Pita and Shortie, whom he lost in a house fire last year. He is survived by his extended daughters and son Jayde and Alex Dukette of Tupper Lake, Kayla Jones and her husband Jair of Tupper Lake, Sandra Kratz and her fiance Conor of Liverpool, Olivia Dukett and her husband Christopher of Tupper Lake, Kaitlin O’Connor of Canton, and Patricia Tonn and her husband Kenneth of Bellmore.
Calling hours will be on Saturday, March 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Stuart-Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Tupper Lake, with a gathering at the Longview Restaurant on Long Lake to follow. Online condolences may be made at www.stuartfortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.