Eugene Ellis Helterbran departed this world on December 17, 2023, at the age of 72 at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City. Born on May 3, 1951, in the Keosauqua area, he was the son of Glenn Ellis and Helen Pauline (House) Helterbran. Eugene was a hard worker, from factory to farmer. One who dedicated his life to his rural lifestyle.
From a young age, Eugene demonstrated an admirable work ethic and a deep connection to his roots. He attended Hillsboro Elementary School and Farmington Junior High before graduating from Harmony High School in 1969. Following his education, he worked on the family farm and extended his labor to neighboring farms. Eugene’s life was enriched by his marriage to Susan Brown on June 5, 1970, at the Big Mound Methodist Church near Hillsboro. From this marriage three daughters were born. Together, they shared a life until her passing in December of 1998.
Eugene’s professional journey was marked by his time at Barkers in Keosauqua, Loudens in Fairfield, Bergman Auto Parts in Keosauqua, and Barkers LTD in Keosauqua, from which he retired in 2016. Retirement did not slow him down; instead, it offered him the opportunity to pursue his passion for rebuilding and repairing tractors and small engines in his own shop. His wisdom and handy nature made him the go-to mechanic in the community, always ready to lend his expertise to those in need.
Eugene’s heart found companionship once more when he met Patsy Skaggs. Their bond was one of mutual respect and shared happiness, enduring through the years. His love for life was evident in his hobbies. He enjoyed hunting and fishing in his youth. He also pursued his interest in tractor pulling, farming family lands, and listening to polka and classic country music in his recent years. Eugene also found pleasure in the excitement of NASCAR and dirt track racing, hobbies that reflected his lifelong appreciation for mechanics and speed.
Eugene was a past member of the Keosauqua Lions Club, where he served his community with pride and dedication. His legacy of wisdom and practical skills will be held in high regard by all who knew him.
He leaves behind a family who will forever honor his memory: his devoted partner, Patsy Skaggs; his daughters, Michelle Mize of Blaine, TN, Julie Helterbran of Fairfield, and Sara Weltha of West Des Moines; his brother, Gary Helterbran of Hillsboro; his stepson, Justin Coffin of Cantril; eight grandchildren; two great-grandsons; seven nieces and nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends who felt his impact deeply. Eugene was preceded in death by his beloved parents, his wife Susan, his sister-in-law Caroline Helterbran, and his son-in-law, Ken Mize.
A funeral service to celebrate Eugene’s life will be held at Cranston-Pedrick Funeral Home in Keosauqua on Friday, December 22, 2023, at 11:00 AM, with Larry Shipley presiding. Visitation will occur from 10:00 to 11:00 AM, an hour prior to the service. Eugene will be laid to rest at Hillsboro Cemetery, where his story will be etched into the landscape he so dearly loved. Friends and loved ones are invited to share their memories and condolences online at www.cranstonfamilyfuneralhome.com. Memorials in Eugene’s honor to Hillsboro Cemetery or Hillsboro Fire Department may be left at the funeral home or mailed to the family at P.O. Box 189, Fairfield, IA 52556.