David “Bear” Jo Helfer U.S. Veteran

June 1, 1957 - August 10, 2012

David Jo Helfer (Bear), 55, passed away on Aug. 10, 2012, at his home.
A potluck celebration of his life will be held Sept. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gardena School, 152 Gardena School Road, Touchet. Memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans Rehab Center through the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder St., Walla Walla, WA. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at

David was born in Walla Walla on June 1, 1957, to Darrel and Nancy Helfer. He was given the nickname Bear when he was little and he was very proud of the name. He went to grade school at Dixie School and later moved to Portland, where he went to school in Carus and later Molalla, Ore. In 1974, he moved back to Walla Walla at which time he joined the U.S. Navy and served during the end of the Vietnam War helping to bring people out during the fall of Saigon. He was discharged from the Navy in 1976 at which time he returned to Walla Walla.

David loved growing houseplants and took great pride in the ones that he had. He also enjoyed gardening and sharing the vegetables that he grew with others. Dave had a great love for his animals, especially his longtime companion, Tess, his dog that was with him at the time of his death. He loved the outdoors and loved motorcycles, hunting, camping and fishing. He enjoyed being around people and if there was something that someone needed, he would try to help.

David is survived by his wife of seven years, Mary Ruzicka; his mother and stepfather, Larry and Nancy Yaw of Waitsburg; his children, Brandon of Richland, Brendan of Walla Walla, Amanda of Walla Walla and Dave Jo Aguirre of Sanger, Calif.; his sisters and brothers-in-law, Debbie and Bill Blair of Waitsburg, Denise and Michael Kirchubel of Fairfield Calif., Connie and Alex Collazo of Athena; his brother, Don Helfer of Sanger, Calif.; three adopted brothers, Joseph Helfer of Portland, Colton Helfer of Portland and Douglas Helfer of Port Angeles, Wash; five grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; two great-nieces and one great-nephew. He was preceded in death by his father, Darrel G. Helfer Sr.; and brother, Darrel G. Helfer Jr., who died in 1983.


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