Dennis Helming died at 5:25 a.m. on May 24, 2014. After suffering a number of illnesses in his last years, he succumbed suddenly and peacefully to cancer after receiving the last Sacraments.
He was born on April 13, 1938 in Lansford, North Dakota. His talent for music and inquisitive quick mind were already apparent in his early education. He entered Harvard College in 1956. Gifted with an outgoing personality and a unique sense of humor he made many friends there, and continued to do so throughout his life.
After leaving Harvard, he moved to Rome, where he obtained a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. While in Rome he spent time with St. Josemara Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, about whom he would later write a pictorial biography "Footprints in the Snow", which has been translated into many languages and re-printed over the years. When he returned to this country in the early 1960's, he joined "Report" magazine in New York first as a writer, and later as its managing editor.
Around 1970 he moved to Washington, D.C., where he took the lead in developing the Program Advance for high school students at The Heights Study Center (now Tenley Study Center). This led to his longtime work of preparing students for college, inspiring a generation of young men as a teacher, motivator, mentor, and in many cases lifelong friend.
Drawing on his experience with young people and their challenges, in 1998 he wrote "The Examined Life". At the time of his death he was working on the publication of three other books, including "Divine Tales" and "Mary's Diary", vivid reexaminations of the lives of Christ and Our Lady.
He had a sharp and original mind, which, combined with a gift for words, a sense of humor, and an unabashed honesty and sincerity, marked him as a free spirit. It is this that characterized his writing and endeared him to his many friends. Always the experimenter, he found ways to stay in touch with his friends wherever they were.
He is survived by his older sister Roberta "Bobbie" Dobson and several nieces and nephews.
Those wishing to do so may make a donation in his memory to Tenley Study Center, 4300 Garrison Street, NW, Washington, DC. 20016.