Michael Arthur Helf (Mike)
Michael Arthur Helf passed away at his home in Crofton, Maryland, on June 19, 2022. Mike was born on June 9, 1963, in Washington, D.C., to Shirley Helf (b. Shirley May Stoddard) and Michael Frank Helf. He was raised in Bladensburg, Maryland, with his sisters, Donna and Karen. As the youngest child, he experienced the gentle teasing of his family, which included being given the nickname “King Arthur,” having a plastic spider placed on the butter so he wouldn’t eat it, and being told that an old lady was living in the attic. He enjoyed sports (football with the Boys’ Club), family trips (including a road trip to visit family in California, with Mom driving and pulling a pop-up trailer) and, as a teenager, going to rock concerts. He graduated from Bladensburg High School in 1981 and followed in his father’s footsteps by working in the elevator trade.
Mike married Sheila Anne O’Connell on December 28, 1983, and they lived in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the next five years. After Mike injured his back working on elevators, he took a number of different jobs in sales and transportation while Sheila finished college and then law school. In May 1989, Mike and Sheila bought a little brick house in Cheverly, MD, with a pool in the backyard and enjoyed entertaining friends over the next few years. On May 15, 1995, their daughter Kristin Elise Helf, was born, and they all lived together in Cheverly with their dog Gizmo for the next four years. On May 10, 1999, second daughter Amy Katharine Helf was born. In August 1999, Mike and Sheila moved to Crofton, Maryland, with their growing family. Mike quit working in order to take care of Kristin and Amy full-time. On November 19, 2004, third daughter Charlotte Summer Helf joined the family. When hearing the unexpected news that he and Sheila were going to have another child (while in their 40’s), Mike quipped, “Looks like I’m keeping my day job!”
Mike loved being a father, taking the girls to the park, the pool, and father-daughter dances, helping out in a co-op preschool and on field trips, and taking the family on vacations to Ocean City, MD; Pennsylvania (Hershey Park and Dutch Wonderland); Disney World; Myrtle Beach; Pigeon Forge and Nashville, Tennessee; Las Vegas; Los Angeles, and several cruises. Mike was a talented cook and loved cooking for the family – Sheila knew that if she ever started dinner, he would immediately take over (whew!). He didn’t necessarily enjoy various family members’ forays into veganism or vegetarianism, but he took it in stride. He was in charge of teaching all of his daughters to drive and was always there to help Kristin and Amy move in and out of college dorms and apartments. Mike was happy to welcome a son-in-law into the family when Kristin married William Strang Moya on June 8, 2019, and never missed the annual Ocean City Film Festival co-founded by Will a few years ago. Mike also enjoyed spending time with Amy’s boyfriend Mick O’Brien playing darts and watching the Washington Football team (to the extent the Washington Football team is capable of providing any enjoyment).
Mike was creative and loved working with his hands. He was known to bring home thrift store finds, often to be repurposed into something new (sometimes leading Sheila to exclaim “Do we have a place for that?” or “What are we going to do with another coffee table?”). Mike loved working on his Harley Davidson Sportster and restoring a 1970 GMC pick up truck. He was handy when it came to home improvements and all things mechanical, and he was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it. Mike loved birthdays and holidays, and our house was always lit up at Christmastime, although seeing Mike with our neighbor Steve stringing lights on the roofs of our homes could be nerve-wracking. Mike will be missed by family, friends, and the family dog, Gypsy.
Mike is survived by his wife Sheila, their three daughters Kristin (Will), Amy, and Charlotte, and his sisters Donna Hayden and Karen (Rocky) Blythe.