Richard Clabern Helgeland


Longtime Bothell resident, Richard Clabern Helgeland (Dick) passed away quietly on May 24, 2023.  Dick was born in Seattle on March 15, 1932, the only child of Clarence and Bernadine Helgeland. Growing up in Ballard, he enjoyed being a boy scout and being an active writer for the Ballard High School newspaper.  To say he enjoyed the dance classes his mother thought he should take, would be a stretch.  As a freshman at Seattle University, he tricked the beautiful and popular Marlys Skarin into accepting a date with him by saying he had tickets to her favorite performance, although he didn’t.  His trickery worked because 4 years later in 1954, they were married.  Dick transferred to the University of Washington after his freshman year and remained a proud Husky for the rest of his life. He graduated with a BA in Business Administration.  Dick was an adventurous man and a dreamer, who enjoyed countless hobbies throughout his lifetime.  You couldn’t spend time with Dick without hearing some of the many tales of adventures he had experienced.

Upon graduation from the University, he received a commission in the Navy.  Dick was active in the Navy for 6 years in Naval Intelligence, which included serving on the USS Ranger in the South Pacific.  He loved the Navy lifestyle with the travel and adventure.  Among the places Dick and Marlys lived during that time, were the San Francisco area, Atlanta, Memphis, Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida.  When Dick was offered a regular Navy Commission, which was a sought-after position at the time, he made the difficult decision to leave the Navy and put his growing family first.  Dick, however, did remain on reserve and always spoke highly of his time in the Navy.  He retired as a Lieutenant Commander.

Dick and his wife Marlys purchased a home in Bothell where they raised their 3 daughters.  As a family, they enjoyed boating, camping and snow skiing.  Many wonderful memories of holidays and greeting friends and neighbors were made in that house and best of all watching their family grow.   As an avid reader, Dick filled the house with thousands of books.  They lived in that home until their late 80’s.

Dick adjusted to the corporate life easily and became a Boeing Company Liaison to Congressional Investigators.  He became a nationally recognized corporate negotiator which led him to become the President of the Pacific North West Chapter of the National Contract Management Association.   Within a short time, he became an internationally recognized FELLOW in the field of Contract Management and then became the National Director of the NCMA (National Contract Management Association).  Dick’s skill as a negotiator, lead him to become the Corporate Director of the largest Private Investigative Training School in the United States at the time and a member of the World Association of Private Investigators.  Through this position, he met many top investigators in the world, including the Dallas Police Lieutenant who captured the person who was charged with killing President Kennedy with whom Dick shared a private and very enlightening conversation.  

Some of Dick’s favorite stories to share were:  when he trained with professional prize fighters and he boxed with a future Golden Glove Boxer, piloting Hot Air Balloons, and participating in various festivals, scuba diving with a United States Naval Aquanaut and when he took part in big game hunting deep in the wilderness of Alaska.  Dick loved to talk about his time teaching communications and contractual related courses at UCLA and U of W.  His hobbies which seem to be endless included a passion for playing tennis, photography, ham radio operator, trap shooting, and fly fishing.

Over the years, Dick spent time volunteering at different organizations in the community.  He was proud of his time with the Seattle Crisis Clinic, The Big Brothers program, being a community board member, which presided over juvenile criminal cases and his one-on-one work with adult prisoners.  He was most proud of his time working with Pasedo’s Animal Rescue.  He loved helping these animals and came to regret his early days hunting for sport.

Dick is survived by his loving wife Marlys, daughters Cathy Wilson (Greg), Jeannie Elledge (Brad) and Linda Donaldson (Bud) and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.