Helge ‘Heku’ Ilmari Mattson, March 22nd, 1934 – July 6th, 2018: It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our ‘larger than life’ husband, father, grandfather, Helge who passed away suddenly on July 6th 2018 at the Kirkland Lake District Hospital. Helge is predeceased by his father Akseli (1966), his mother Eva (1995) and his baby sister Helen (1936).
Helge was a devoted husband to his wife Nancy of 61 years, a celebrated father of Cindy, Wanda, Eric (Ingrid), Aaron (Sandra) and an ever protective, loving grandfather to Kaitlan, Kayla and Elsi. Helge also has several surviving relatives in Finland.
Helge was born at his parents’ homestead, a two-room wooden cabin in Marquis Township, where his outstanding work ethic started to develop on their farm at the age of 4. His parents instilled in him the virtues of hard work and learning that lead to a lifetime of the most ethical and admirable practices.
Helge attended the rural Marquis school and KLCVI. His insatiable appetite for knowledge followed him throughout his life. In grade 6 he read all 50 classics in the school’s library; in grade 7 he was sponsored to get an early start to high school; and, he produced the highest marks in grades 9 and 10. His literary hero remains Jean Valjean from his favourite classic: Les Miserables.
Helge left school at the age of 15 to work in the forest industry. He started out as a cutter in bush camps and he worked as a clerk at night. At this age he also became a union steward, further developing his natural leadership capacities.
Helge joined the Ontario Lands & Forests Department at the age of 18 as a timber scaler and multi-service trainee to begin a 36-year career with the M.N.R. At 19 he was the youngest person to become a licensed timber scaler, which he was still licensed for at the time of his passing…notably being the oldest living scaling licensee in Ontario. At age 23 he was selected for the new position of then Swastika District Provincial Parks and recreational areas supervisor. At age 39 he was selected as the new northern region’s provincial parks and recreational areas coordinator for 8 districts in the Cochrane regional office. At age 48 he was selected as the province’s first regional outdoor recreation coordinator combining provincial parks and fish and wildlife management. On retirement in 1988, Helge and Nancy returned to Kirkland Lake to their original home and family cottage. In 1987 he was honoured by the federal/provincial park’s council with their award for ‘meritorious service to Canadian Parks’ at Tadoussac, Quebec.
Among groups served as a member: Echo athletic and social club, Round Lake Cemetery caretaker/trustee, Kirkland Lake volunteer fire brigade (life member), Kirkland Lake town recreation committee, Cochrane town recreation committee, Round Lake and area landowner’s committee, Kirkland Lake hospital foundation and various advisory committees.
Helge’s many hobbies and interests included log building, stone and concrete masonry, recreational consulting, fishing, hunting, orienteering, nature study, researching/recording local rural ethnic settler history, recording unique true animal stories, dabbling in rural properties, assisting ethnic peoples with legal and clerical issues, bowling, skiing, curling, chess, all card games, wagering, world politics and amateur sports.
Helge’s absolute most all-time enjoyable activity has been dancing with his lifetime partner, his wife Nancy.
His family will continue to celebrate his phenomenal capacity for storytelling, his generous nature, and the integrity he integrated into every endeavour he undertook.
We, his family, extend our sincere thanks and gratefulness for all the support and well wishes from our friends, community and associations. A ‘celebration of life’ gathering for Helge is still in the planning. Donations in memory of Helge can be made to the Salvation Army (P.O. Box 424, Kirkland Lake, ON P2N 3L1), an organization he has so highly respected, valued and supported throughout his adult life.
P.O. Box 424
Kirkland Lake, ON P2N 3L1