Robert Helgren

KINGSFORD – Robert R. Helgren, 80, of Kingsford, passed away peacefully on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born Aug. 29, 1933, in Negaunee, son of the late Reuben and Ellen (Sivula) Helgren. Bob was raised in Negaunee and was a 1951 graduate of Negaunee High School. He continued his education at Northern Michigan University and earned his bachelor’s degree in business in 1955.

Bob married Mary Johnson on April 16, 1955. He worked in Negaunee for Jones and Laughlin Steel as assistant division controller.

In 1971, Bob, Mary and family moved to Iron Mountain where Bob began his career as business manager for the Iron Mountain School System. He served as the business manager for 23 years, retiring in 1993.

Over the years, Bob also ran a successful income tax business. He enjoyed traveling, camping, trout fishing, visiting the casino, camping at Rivers Bend and spending time with his family. He was a member of First Covenant Church.

Together, Bob and Mary raised six children. Mary preceded him in death on March 6, 2004. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Marge Tatrow.

Bob married JoAnne Hosking Pugh on Nov. 24, 2006.

He is survived by his wife, JoAnne; children, Kathy (Jim) Fleury of Iron Mountain, Kandy (Phil) Blom of Iron Mountain, Kristen Axberg of Kingsford, John (Valeria) Helgren of Jacksonville, Fla., James Helgren of Iron Mountain and Jeff Helgren of Kingsford; stepchildren, Kenneth Pugh of Iron Mountain, Robert (Sonya) Pugh of Iron Mountain, Patricia (Robert) Gedvick of Vulcan, Pam Pugh of Iron Mountain, Jerald (Becky) Pugh of Quinnesec and William (Dan Wheeler) Pugh of Canton, Mich.; grandchildren, Brad (Karen) Ellis, Jana LaPoint, Jodi Ellis, Dean (Corrie) Ellis, Katie (Andy Gibbons) Ellis, Kevin (Heather Pfeiffer) Ellis, Jamie Pietrantonio, Nick Pietrantonio, Michael Tramontin, Ron Paul Axberg, Joseph Axberg and Cameron Allman; great-grandchildren, Cody, Andie, Emma and Aiden Ellis, Paige, Brenden and Ryan LaPoint, Malakai Broresma, Brayden Pietrantonio; 15 step-grandchildren; and two step-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Covenant Church, 125 East H St., Iron Mountain.

Funeral services will follow Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the church. Rev. Peter Erickson will officiate.

Burial will be in Iron Mountain Cemetery Park. Bob’s grandsons will serve as pallbearers.

Condolences to the family of Robert Helgren may be expressed online at

Donations may be made to the Dickinson County Cancer Unit Loan Closet, OSF Hospice, or cancer research, in his name.

The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain to handle the funeral arrangements.