On Tuesday August 1, 2023, Lyle Alan Helke passed away at age 73 from complications of a heart attack; his loving daily rituals will be missed by all. Lyle is survived by his cherished wife, Connie, sons and daughters-in-law Josh (Liz Hajek) and Mike (Sarah Millfelt), and grandchildren Adela and Theo Helke and Kaspar and Vincent Millfelt.
Born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin to Virginia and Martin Helke, during his childhood, Lyle loved working on his grandfather’s farm. “Good, better, best, never let it rest," he learned from his grandfather, and Lyle lived this mantra. Fleet of foot, Lyle attended Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids and Valparaiso University setting running records in track and field that stood for decades.
Lyle moved to Minnesota with Connie in the 1970s to become an educator. For 34 years Lyle shared his passion for education and athletics at White Bear Lake High School where he worked and coached the Girls' Cross Country and Track teams, receiving awards for both education and coaching. Lyle coached teams to state victories and inspired countless others to become educators and athletic coaches, positively influencing the Minnesota State High School distance-running communities into the future.
Lyle enjoyed every moment with his soulmate Connie on their St. Croix Valley homestead, where they shared a deep love of nature, art, and creating. They curated an artistic vortex on this property where Lyle lovingly built a two-story pottery studio for Connie entirely from salvaged barn wood, gently gathered with grace from defunct farms around Wisconsin, and smooth glacial fieldstones from nearby fields. Together in this warm space they hosted decades of Connie’s pottery sales, where they joyously connected with friends old and new over a shared love of pottery, families, antiques, and the St. Croix Valley.
Lyle proudly raised sons Mike and Josh, sharing his love for creating with them from a young age. Together they built a large fort village on the property from scrap material scavenged from building projects around the area. Lyle graciously lent his beloved tools to their young hands, sowing seeds for their ensuing lives of creativity and making.
After retiring from the White Bear Lake School District, Lyle continued to find daily flow through work. Lyle enjoyed employment as a grant writer, insurance salesman, and later as a successful sales manager at Everlast Climbing where he helped share his family’s love of rock climbing with many through sales of indoor climbing walls. Across his professional and personal realms, Lyle will be remembered as wise, calm, present, loyal, motivated, industrious, and caring.
Lyle forever enjoyed moving his body and meditated daily through caretaking of the lands around his home, devotedly cutting firewood, pulling buckthorn, and tending meadows. In recent years as Lyle worked from home, he and Connie marveled at the deer, turkey, fox and hawks that took residence out their breakfast window.
A Celebration of Life service will be scheduled at a later date. Information will be posted with Bradshaw in Stillwater.