American Patriotic 11


George Henry Helmstead

September 12, 1944 ~ May 6, 2018 (age 73)

George Henry Helmstead of Ada, MI was welcomed into God’s arms on Sunday May 6, 2018. George was the only child of the late Harry and Irene Helmstead natives of Closter, New Jersey. He was a graduate of Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest, attended Fairleigh Dickinson University and earned a Masters of Business Administration at Pepperdine University.

On a weekend stay at a friend’s home while serving as a Sergeant in the Air National Guard, George met his friend’s little sister, Jane. Years later they fell in love and were married in 1979. George was a devoted and loving husband for the next thirty-eight years. He was destined to become a father of two children and is now lovingly remembered by his daughter, Marisa, his son Trever, his daughter-in-law, Kari and his grandson, Soren.

George had an illustrious career in the hospitality industry starting in New York at Westin Hotel’s home office, then on to the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and overseas to Singapore as Director of Sales for Westin’s Raffles City Hotel. Returning stateside, Marriott welcomed him as a Director of Marketing in Los Angeles and in short time shipped him to New York to promote Marriot’s flagship property, the Marriot Marquis. Changing gears, George settled into a new role as Vice President of Sales for the Metropolitan Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau. He later served as Executive Vice President of Sales at “Experience Grand Rapids,” the organization that marketed Grand Rapids and Kent County as a “preferred” convention and visitor destination.

He was known as an “easy going, kind and friendly guy” whose sense of humor quickly disarmed acquaintances and converted them to long term friends. As a boss, staff appreciated his willingness to “go to bat” for them, to be “a pleasure to work for,” and for some to be, “the best boss” they ever had.

Retirement in 2015, brought George closer to the pleasures of sailing, golfing, and dancing. He served on the board of the Lake Michigan Catalina Association and through their varied activities made lasting friendships both on and off the water. He became a Certified Bareboat Captain and spent time chartering in Anguilla, Saint Martin, the BVI’s and Cuba. His most cherished time on the water however was always sailing the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. 

Golfing was also a keen interest and through his buddy, Tom, George would join in weekly golf outings with a gregarious group of friends. Other plans included road trips to the Shakespeare Festival, hikes on the Bruce Peninsula, line dancing at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club and ballroom dancing at Forest Hills Arts Center with Jane. Summers included gleaning fruits and vegetable for Feeding America and bike riding in MSU’s annual Gran Fondo. George’s greatest pleasure was spending time with family. Annual trips included visiting the Detroit Auto show with Marisa, shopping at Countrywide Nursery with Jane, and offering career advice while skiing in Utah with Trever.  Words cannot express how much his family adored him or how much he will be missed. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation to the National Stroke Association at: to further their work in stroke awareness and treatment. A celebration of the life of George Helmstead is being planned for May 31st at 4pm at the Amway Grand Plaza.  The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the wonderful family and friends that helped and supported them over the past several months.

© 2018 Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS