William R. (Ray) Helbig passed away on September 7, 2010, in Honolulu.
Ray was born in San Francisco, California on July 29, 1920. He spent his youth in “depression” era San Francisco, graduating from the University of San Francisco in 1943. Ray worked at a bay area shipyard during World War II. He often told fascinating stories of the dangers of working in this vital war industry where fatal accidents were common and exposure to asbestos was a daily occurrence.
Ray moved to the Territory of Hawaii in 1954 where he had acquired an interest in Hawaiian Service, a business that supported the visitor industry with cards, books, and related items. Ray took part in the rapid expansion of tourism to Hawaii that came along with the advent of commercial jet aircraft.
Ray was an author and publisher. His book, Let’s Learn A Little Hawaiian , was on the best-seller list for Hawaiiana. He was an expert on bottles, which went along with his interest in the history of Hawaii. He was a member of Rotary, the Elks, Waialae Country Club, and the Outrigger Canoe Club.
Ray spent his later years as a visitor, and finally a resident of Maunalani Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Ray had the greatest respect and aloha for the dedicated professionals of Maunalani.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Delta, of nearly 65 years, his daughter , Thea Coats, son-in-law, Wilson, granddaughters, Mattie and Virginia, and nephews, Charles, Robert, Frank, Mike, David and Barry. His son, W.R. “Bill” Helbig, Jr., of McMinnville, OR, died in 2005. Ray’s twin brother, Donald “Don” Helbig, passed away earlier this year. Ray and Don’s sister, Mary Duhme, passed away several years ago.
Ray will be greatly missed by all who knew him. A memorial service for Ray Helbig will be held at 1:30 PM on Wednesday, September 22, at Maunalani Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.