William G. (“Bill”) Helson was born on November 29, 1934 and died on April 25, 2017 in Boulder, Colorado, surrounded by his children.
Bill started his life in Enochs, Texas before moving with his family to Oakland, California at the age of nine. He graduated from Castlemont High School in 1952, where he excelled as an athlete, playing quarterback on the football team and point guard on the basketball team. Upon graduation, he worked his way through college, graduating from San Francisco State University in 1957 with a degree in business administration. He was also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.
Following college, Bill spent two years in the United States Army and was honorably discharged as a corporal. He then pursued his CPA and worked for seven years at Philco-Ford, becoming Manager of Financial Analysis. He joined the Arcata Corporation in 1973, holding various positions, rising to Vice President and Corporate Controller. Bill left Arcata in 1981 to found a private equity firm, Helson Associates, where he successfully acquired and managed a number of private equity investments, including Allied Paper, POS Data, and Alden Press, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors, until its successful sale in 1993.
Bill aspired to be Controller and Chairman of the Board in all areas of his life (including airports, restaurants and family events), and graciously endured a lot of ribbing from his kids about this tendency. He enjoyed golfing, playing tennis, and was always up for board and card games with his kids and grandkids. He was honest, loyal and generous to a fault.
Bill left behind his first wife Helen Helson and their three children: daughter Janet, her wife Betty Lundquist, and their children Tyler and Zora (Seattle, WA); son David, wife Beckette, and their daughters, Bethany, Madalyn, and Emily (Ashburn, VA); and son John, wife Jessica, and their children, Augustus, Margaux, Henry and Jack (Boulder, CO). He is also survived by his second wife, Francine Markoe, and sisters Ruth Mobley and Lynda Torbik.
A family memorial will be held at a later date. Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to TRU Community Care Hospice in Boulder, Colorado or to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.