Frank Edwin Helyar, a resident of North Falmouth, Mass., died Friday, March 17, 2017, at McCarthy Care Center in Sandwich, Mass. He was 90 years old.
Frank is survived by his wife of 64 years, Frances Picking Helyar, of North Falmouth, Mass., and by his daughters Elizabeth W. Eldridge of South Yarmouth, Mass.; Sarah H. Chester of Lincoln, Mass.; Pamela S. Helyar of Morrisville, N.C.; Penelope H. Lowman of Hollis, N.H.; Catherine W. Helyar of Starksboro, Vt.; and Alexandra H. Schacher of Starksboro, Vt.; by his grandchildren James Thoresen, Daniel Thoresen, Elizabeth Smith Pare, and Alexander Winthrop Helyar; also by five great-grandchildren.
He was born in Brattleboro, Vt., the son of James Edwin Helyar and Dorothy May Prouty, and the brother of Dorothy Putnam Helyar. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Manchester, N.H., where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Manchester Central High School in 1945 and immediately joined the Army. Following Basic Training, he attended the Army Japanese language school at Yale University and then was posted to Japan, where he served in the Counterintelligence Corps during the Occupation. After the Army he returned to Yale on the GI Bill to complete his bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Social Psychology, in the class of 1950F. He then studied Linguistics at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Frank worked for the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C., where he met Frances. They married in Portland, Me., and then were posted to Japan for two years. Upon return to the states, they settled in Maine. Frank became a trust officer and vice president at the Maine National Bank in Portland. He subsequently became assistant vice president at the Old Colony Trust Company, First National Bank of Boston, whereupon his family moved to Concord, Mass. He later was promoted to vice president for Trust New Business at Bank of Boston and was transferred to the branch in Falmouth, Mass. After Frank retired from Bank of Boston, he ran his own consulting business in estate planning.
Frank was a lover of people and the outdoors, and had a wonderful sense of humor. Having grown up in the Green and White Mountains, he sought them year round. He loved to ski both Alpine and Nordic, competing on the Armed Services ski team while in Japan and co-founding the Yale Outing Club, where he competed on the ski team in Nordic combined. As their family grew, he and Frances emphasized that they all do everything together and led them in several sports. They taught their six daughters to ski, with Frank carrying infants and toddlers down the slopes in a pack basket until each was old enough to ski on her own. In the summers and falls, they led their family and friends on hiking, camping, and canoeing trips all around New England. Frank insisted, of course, that his daughters learn the J-stroke so they could canoe properly. He also constantly impressed his daughters—and later his grandchildren—with his “radar,” which started to beep whenever they were approaching a bakery anywhere in New England.
While living in Maine, Frank and his family loved to explore Casco Bay in the family’s open lobster boat, with Frank often having to tinker with the engine. He played tennis with passion, playing regularly with friends on weekend mornings, and practiced blasting his serves at daughters, who eventually learned to return them. When his family moved to Concord, Mass., they collected ponies, so he and his daughters built a stable, with Frank gleefully scrounging from the dump a stained glass window to adorn the barn. To be involved with the weekend pony activities, he became for many years the “drag” for the Old North Bridge Hounds fox hunt, hiking through the fields and woods to lay the scent trail for the hounds and the riders to follow.
When the family moved to Falmouth, Mass., Frank and Frances enjoyed many happy years with their bicycling group, the Falmouth Freewheelers. Most mornings, as a proud member of the Woods Hole Breakfast Club, Frank biked to join them at Pie in the Sky. Wherever Frank traveled, he played “Do you know?” and managed to find common friends among his new acquaintances.
Ever the Eagle Scout, over the years Frank gave his assistance to multiple organizations, volunteering for Radio Free Europe, Maine Council of Churches, PTA of Falmouth (Me.), United Ways of Maine and Massachusetts, WGBH Auction, Community Gardens of Concord (Mass.), and the Falmouth (Mass.) Road Race.
Frank was loved by all and will be dearly missed. The family will hold a memorial service at a later date.