William Leroy (Bill) Helbling, 85, a longtime Moscow resident, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, February 29, 2016, in Spokane due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.
He was born October 22, 1930, in Dickinson, North Dakota, to the late Arthur S. and Clementine Helbling. After moving with his family to Moscow in 1939, Bill attended the Ursuline Academy in Moscow, Gonzaga High School in Spokane, and started at Gonzaga University before enlisting in the Army in 1951. He met the love of his life, Carmella Cantalini of Spokane, and they married in 1952. Bill continued to serve as an Army paratrooper until 1954.
Bill joined his father and brothers in building Helbling Brothers, an International Harvester farm implement dealership in Moscow, Pullman and Genesee. Early on, he served as service manager, then transferring into the parts department and later worked as an outside parts salesman until the business sold to St. John Hardware in 1995. He continued to work a few more years before retirement. Bill was the last surviving brother of a local landmark family business serving the Palouse farmers since 1939. He loved to refer to this area as “God’s Country.”
Bill was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather with a heart of gold and known for his firm handshake. In the early years, he and Carmella spent many hours dealing with a family sickness called Cystinosis, which took the lives of five of their ten children. He was an avid supporter of his children and grandchildren’s sporting events and a loyal supporter of Moscow Bear Boosters, Gonzaga Bulldogs, and University of Idaho Vandals.
Bill was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church; Knights of Columbus 4th Degree and enjoyed being a Eucharistic minister, taking communion to the home-bound. He was also a member of the Moscow Chamber Ambassador and the Moscow Lion’s club.
He is survived by his loving wife of more than 63 years, Carmella, who still resides in Moscow and by his children; Mike Helbling of Moscow; Barbara Brincken and her husband, Roger, of Spokane Valley, and their son Cody and daughter Tori; Jeff Helbling and his wife, Carla, of Moscow, and their sons Chris and his wife Jessi, Matt and his wife Ellie, Phil and his wife Kirsten, Jake and Josh; Bill Helbling and his wife, Rosemary, of Moscow, and their daughters Sara Alexander and her husband Ben, Stephanie, and son Shon; Karen Croasdell and her husband, Dave, of Reno, Nev., and their sons Quinn and Corey and daughter Kelly; and great grandchildren, Mason, Gabriel, Malia and Jackson. He is also survived by his sisters Sr. Dolores Helbling OSU of Moscow and Charlotte Schovaers of Palm Desert, Calif.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Art, Ray, Jim, Bob and sister Dorothy, his five children; David, Steve, John, Mary Ellen and Brian.
The rosary will be recited at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 5th at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at First and Polk St in Moscow, followed by the funeral mass at 11:00 a.m. and burial at the Moscow Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the St. Mary’s Family Center.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Tina’s Hope for a Cure (Cystinosis Foundation), P.O. Box 754 Clarkston, WA, or the charity of the donor’s choice.
Viewing will take place at Short’s Funeral Chapel from 10am-6pm on Thursday, and 8am-6pm on Friday.