Sam was born Dec. 28, 1926 in Westfield, Iowa to parents Simon and Gertrude (Janssen) Vander Helm. He grew up the fifth of seven children. After high school, Sam worked as a meat cutter before enlisting in the United States Air Force from 1945 to 1950. He served with the 466th Air Service Group in the European Theater of Operations.
Upon returning home he met and married Bernice Wendt on May 6, 1950 in Mora, Minn. The couple first made their home in Stanchfield, but eventually settled in Braham, Minn. To this union one son was born, Dan. After Bernice’s death in 1980, Sam married Shirley Pearson on Sept. 21, 1987.
Sam was employed at the Grasston Feed Mill during his working career. He put God first in his life but also loved his wife, son, and grandchildren. He enjoyed getting together with his family for treats and playing cards.
Sam is preceded in death by his parents; brothers George Vander Helm, Allen Vander Helm, and Henry Vander Helm; one sister Mary Obbink; and his first wife Bernice.
He is survived by his wife Shirley of Braham, son Dan Vander Helm of Cambridge; step-children Michael (Nina) Johnson and Ron (Julie) Johnson; grandchildren Sara Vander Helm, Megan Johnson, Melissa Johnson, Brad Johnson, Bobbie Johnson, and Beth Johnson all of Braham.
A Memorial Service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the Braham Covenant Church with Rev. Steve Jennisch officiating. A Memorial visitation will be held 1 hour prior to the service at the church. Music will be provided by Marie Grundberg. Urn Bearers are Michael Johnson, Ron Johnson, Brad Johnson, Joe Peterson, Mike Gustafson and Darwin LaFrance. Inurnment is in the Grasston Baptist Cemetery. Military Honors will be provided by the Minnesota National Guard Honor Team. Arrangements are by the Rock Ingebrand Funeral Home of Braham.