Cover photo for Herbert James Hellen's Obituary
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1932 Herbert 2024

Herbert James Hellen

April 18, 1932 — February 6, 2024

Madison, WI

Herbert Hellen passed away peacefully in Madison, Wisconsin, on February 6, 2024, at the age of 91 from complications due to Alzheimer’s.  

 Herb was born in 1932 in Milwaukee to Allyn and Vera (Claridge) Hellen. His two older brothers were Wesley and Richard. The family lived on North 40th Street across from Washington Park. They attended Kingsley Methodist Church where Herb sang in youth choirs following the interests of his musically inclined mother.

 In high school Herb played on the tennis team, starting a life-long enjoyment of the sport. Following the example of both his brothers, Herb attended the Milwaukee extension of the University of Wisconsin for two years, then transferred to the main campus in Madison to earn a degree in engineering. While at UW-Milwaukee, he played on the tennis team. In Madison he met Lavonne at a campus church, Wesley Methodist. They began dating and were married in the spring of 1955 shortly after Herb joined the army. They spent the next two years in San Francisco where Herb was assigned to the Presidio US Army Post.

 Herb and Lavonne returned to Madison in 1957 where Herb started working for the Engineering Division of the City of Madison. Soon, their first child, Joanne, was born, followed two years later by Ed. The family lived on Orchard Drive in Midvale Heights, a great neighborhood. They went on many car trips, following the examples Herb and Lavonne both experienced in their childhoods. In addition to family activities, Herb enjoyed singing in the Bethany United Methodist Choir and playing tennis with work and church buddies. 

 In his work career, Herb rose through the ranks becoming Assistant City Engineer for many years, followed by a short stint as City Engineer, then on to Director of Public Works until his retirement. He worked 37 years for the City of Madison. 

 In retirement, Herb and Lavonne enjoyed traveling, often visiting their siblings’ families and their kids’ families. After 47 years of marriage, Lavonne passed away. Herb continued to travel, sing, and play tennis.  

 After he closed up and sold the house on Orchard Drive, Herb moved to Capitol Lakes Retirement Community on West Main Street, into apartments first in independent living, then assisted, and finally in the memory care floor.  His family is very happy for him that he was able to enjoy life there and for the high quality of care he received in his final years.  

 Herb was predeceased by his parents, his two brothers and his wife.   He is survived by brother-in-law Wayne Attoe and sister-in-law Carol Jean Attoe, by his children and their spouses Joanne H. Jastram (Carter) of Columbus, Ohio, and Edward Hellen (Alice) of Greensboro, NC, his grandchildren Helen Jastram, Keith Jastram, and Deborah Hellen, four great-grandchildren and various nephews, nieces, grandnephews, and grandnieces.  

A visitation will be held on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 10:00 am at Bethany United Methodist Church, 3910 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI.  A funeral service will follow the visitation at 11:00 am, and a luncheon will be held at noon all at the church.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Capitol Lakes Foundation and to Bethany United Methodist Church, both of Madison, Wisconsin.  

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, February 16, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Bethany United Methodist Church

3910 Mineral Point Rd, Madison, WI 53705

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Funeral Service

Friday, February 16, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Bethany United Methodist Church

3910 Mineral Point Rd, Madison, WI 53705

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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