Charles Frederick Helsper “(Uncle) Charlie”
Charles Frederick Helsper – known to family and friends as Charlie – passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, December 17, 2022 after a life filled with love, dedication to service, and commitment to country and community.
Charles was born in Washington DC on May 30, 1941 to Charles & Hazel Helsper of Washington DC and Alexandria, Virginia. The Helsper family moved to Crescent Hill farm in Great Falls, Virginia where he attended Forestville Elementary and Herndon High School. Charlie excelled in multiple sports including soccer and track & field and was known for his exceptional talent as a trumpet player. Charles received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1959. A proud member of the Tenth Company, he graduated in 1963 and retired a decorated Lieutenant Commander in 1983. Charles was awarded the Bronze Star, along with a Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Service & Campaign Medals, Vietnam Staff Service Honor Medal First Class, the National Defense Service Medal and the Surface Warfare Officer’s Insignia.
Charles suffered tragic loss with the sudden death of both his first wife Donna and his youngest daughter Diane (age 14). He found love again with his second wife Nancy Manning Helsper in 1989. Together, Nancy and Charlie opened and ran Heritage Park Inn in San Diego where Charlie delighted in visiting with guests from around the globe.
Charles and Nancy moved to Coronado CA in the mid-1990’s where they quickly became active local community members. Charlie played the trumpet in the jazz band, played tennis, assisted with the Coronado Fourth of July parade, cultivated his prize roses in the Garden Club, and was a loyal member of the Soroptimist Club. Nancy and Charlie were also members of the Crown Club, volunteered at the Coronado Library, and enjoyed the Old Globe Theater.
Charlie remained an active alumni and often returned to Annapolis to cheer on the Blue and Gold and visit with his brothers from the “Terrible Tenth Company”. Charles’ favorite role was as devoted husband to beloved wife Nancy, with whom he enjoyed many activities including travelling across the country to visit family and friends. Charles was Nancy’s fiercest protector, joyful partner, and tireless caretaker until her death in June, 2022.
Charlie adored his nieces and nephews, whom he taught everything from investing to puzzle building to card tricks. His patience, gentle spirit, and listening ear remain his greatest gifts and will be missed.
A Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Thursday, February 9, 2023 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Coronado, California. Interment at the Naval Academy Columbarium is scheduled for October, 2023.