John Daniel Helm, 74, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Tranquillity. Born Sept. 1, 1945, on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, he was the son of the late Dr. John D. Helm Jr. and Grace Higgins Helm.
Raised in Lancaster, PA, John was a 1963 graduate of Manheim Township High School where he was a four-year letterman on the swim team and senior class president. He continued his love of competitive swimming at Davidson College where he graduated in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. In 1970, he earned a master’s degree in science from North Carolina State University and in 1973 was awarded a Doctorate in Zoology from Michigan State University.
Upon completion of his studies in 1973, he joined the faculty of Hood College as an assistant professor of biology. The following year, he received a National Science Foundation grant to attend the First International Theriological Congress in Moscow, Russia, where he presented a paper on the comparative biology of the neotropical climbing rats, Ototylomys and Tylomys.
In 1979, he began a career with the Environmental Protection Agency which lasted until his retirement in 2011. He began serving as a senior project manager responsible for writing TSCA section 4 test rules and later became a compliance officer in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Agriculture Division.
John’s leisure pursuits included reading, drawing and painting, wood carving, photography, hunting and fishing, exercise, and participating in martial arts. But most of all, he found joy and inspiration in the beauty of nature — a full moon on a crystal clear night, a sunset washed sky just before the gloaming, and a V-shaped flock of Canada geese, wings creaking, out on a evening foray.
John is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nancy; their sons, John Daniel Helm IV (Dan) of Frederick and William McNair Helm (Bill) of Lutherville; his brothers James M. Helm and wife Karen of Raleigh, David T. Helm and wife Janet of Natick, Mass.; nephews Alex Helm of Natick, Mass., Peter Helm of Columbia, Missouri, Daniel Helm of Las Vegas, Nevada; nieces Amanda Helm of Tyler, Texas, and Joanna Helm of Kittery, Maine. He was preceded in death by his brother, Charles R. (Chuck) Helm.
A burial service for the family will be held at Zion Church of Christ in Strasburg, PA, and a Celebration of Life service will be held on a future date.
A note of thanks goes out to Hospice Health of Frederick and the Memory Care staff at Tranquillity for their excellent and loving care.
If so desired, memorial contributions may be made to Daybreak Adult Day Services, 7819 Rocky Springs Road, Frederick, MD 21702 or Hospice of Frederick County, 516 Trail Ave., Frederick, MD 21701.
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