Our beloved parents are gone

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I honestly can’t believe I’ve even writing this post. It still all feels like a very bad dream.

Our beloved parents, Grama Susie and Papa, have gone home to be with Jesus. They were on a boat trip, one of many they’ve taken over the years, and were to return home Monday night. We hadn’t been able to get in touch with them and Tuesday morning they didn’t show up for work. I started checking around at that point and talked to the marina where they were supposed to be. Their boat was there. My brother Tracy, sister Danelle, Pat and I got in the car to go there as no one would tell us anything.

We knew deep in our hearts something was very wrong.

We got there about 2:30 pm on Tuesday and the sheriff was there along with investigators. The sheriff told us that mom and dad were gone and that it was carbon monoxide poisoning. They use a generator on their boat to run the air conditioner, tv, microwave, etc and it appears that there was something wrong with the exhaust. They both passed in to the arms of Jesus without pain.

Our hearts are completely broken and I keep telling people we feel very lost right now. Time seems to stand still and there is so much going through our heads. We are so thankful that they went together, on their boat, just like they would have wanted. But we are so angry that they went together, leaving us orphaned.

We are clinging to the hope of Jesus and while we mourn, we don’t mourn as those with no hope. Mom and Dad loved Jesus and we know they are with Him now.  We just miss them so much and can’t believe they are gone.

The Celebration of Life for Mom and Dad (Al and Sue Hellman) will be Sunday, June 17th at 4:30 pm in Chamberlain, SD at the Cedar Shores Resort Convention Center. A memorial fund has been established through any Great Western Bank.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We need them more than ever. Our brother Jim and his wife Leana are still traveling back from South Africa. Please pray specifically for them that they would be able to get home to us quickly so that we can be together.

We love you Mom and Dad and we thank God to have had you as our parents. Our lives will never be the same without you.

37 thoughts on “Our beloved parents are gone

    Brenda Ohm Merkel said:
    June 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I pray that the good Lord will lead y
    ou to a path of comfort and guidance. Thank you for the update with your family. Many hugs….

    Eric Schlaht said:
    June 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss Missy. Al and Sue were great people and I will miss them dearly! I’ll never forget the Christmas gifts we got from them such as socks, mento’s, pez and other gifts. Makes me laugh at all the gag gifts they always gave out before the good stuff came. Lots of memories will never be forgotten.

    Hannah said:
    June 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    My Daddy passed away very suddenly 1 & 1/2 years ago from a pulmonary embolism. It’s a weird blessing, isn’t it? Knowing that they went so peacefully, and that they had no pain, but feeling totally jipped of the opportunity to say “See you later!”

    I pray that the Lord fills in all those gaps that you don’t even realize need filling yet, and that the family of the Church surrounds you with His love.



    Jamie (Newton) Kenny said:
    June 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Danelle, Missy, Tracy,& families,
    Thank you for sharing your story & for sharing your faith in the Lord. I am so very sorry for your loss! There are no words I can say that express what you must be feeling! You all are in my thoughts & prayers!! Hang in there & stay faithful!

    Jeff and Ronelle Neill said:
    June 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    We cant even begin to imagine the pain of your loss! Have all of you in our thoughts and prayers! Sooo soo sorry!

    Nila Wagaman said:
    June 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Missy, I am so sorry that you and your family must go through this terriable loss! At this moment nothing looks like it will make it better but just remember they are now enjoying the good life with the lord! And for us on earth we need to cherish those moments in time that we had with them until we meet once again! If you should need anything during this most difficult time please remember to call upon your friends! Call me if you should need anything at all! Nila

    Kandi Lewis said:
    June 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Missy we have never met, however I had the honor to work with both your mom and dad at St. Joe’s. I was shocked and very saddened to hear the news yesterday. Your parents were (are) AMAZING people. The entire family is in my prayers.

    Ryan Egan said:
    June 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Missy, we will be praying for your family. We’ll be in touch to see what you might need in the near future. We’re so thankful for your rock-solid foundation in Christ Alone. He is your anchor, when the world around is out of control.

    Toni (Haskell) Evans said:
    June 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Tracy, Danelle and Missy
    So sorry to hear the news of your parents, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families…God Bless! Shawn and Toni (Haskell) Evans – Redfield

    Susie Stroup said:
    June 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Prayers to you Missy & Family.. My heart breaks for you. 😦 May God hold you in His hands & show you peace & hope in the difficult days ahead.

    Susie Stroup
    (long time friend of your cousin Amber)

    Kami Otter Robe said:
    June 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    sorry to hear about Sue and Al, as you know i was one of their many kids in high school. my family’s prayers and thoughts are with you and yours. Kami Otter Robe

    Leanne Olivier said:
    June 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    It was hard to lose my parents one at a time. I can’t imagine how it must feel to lose both of your parents at once. However, they were doing something they loved and to go to be with Jesus together spared either of them from having to lose one another. Going to sleep and waking up in heaven must have been wonderful for them! Yet, we will miss them dearly. They were wonderful folks. Our thoughts and prayers are for your family at this most difficult time.

    Coral Assam said:
    June 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I am so deeply sorry to hear about your parents, honey. I know the pain of being an orphan – it is tough no matter how “adult” we are in years. I would have loved to have known your dad, and your mom’s music was such a blessing as was her testimony – and now their legacy in your beautiful family. Jesus is faithful in all things, through all generations. My prayers are with you. I don’t have a good place for kids to play but I have a couple of days next week I could come to your home for a few hours to watch the kids for you if you need it.
    Cell is 212-3405. Love in Christ to you all, all His comfort…

    Brittney said:
    June 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    This breaks my heart to see, knowing them from part of the St. Joes family, they are a caring couple & they are in God’s hands now. Prayers to the Family!

    Erin Schulte said:
    June 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    So Sorry to hear, I worked with your dad at St Joes, he was a great man.

    wendy said:
    June 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I had the privilage of working with both your parents at St. Joe’s. They were awesome people. Please know that my prayers and thoughts are with your family. May the Good Lord, see you through this trying times.

    Wendy Ley

    Stacy said:
    June 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I know hwo strong you are Missy–I just read this post out loud to my mom and coudn’t make it through without a few pauses:’) Anyway, I know the strength it had to take you to write this beautfiul post about your loving parents. Thank you so much for sharing during your sorrow…I have been thinking and praying for your family since your first post and will continue to do so. Extra prayers coming for Jimmy & Leana and their safe travels. -Stacy

    Robin Helton said:
    June 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Missy, So sorry to hear this news! I worked with your mom and dad about 8- 10 years ago at St. Joe’s. They were so loving and caring and opened their arms to MANY young people (and some of us old people too!) and encouraged them in countless ways! Sue and Al will be greatly missed. They and the Blue and White boat will be forever etched in my mind. I am truly glad that they went together as that is how it should have been for those two! The Lord lent us a great couple for some time and now have called them home. However, he has left their legacy with you and your siblings and he knows what is yet to come! Know they are watching over y’all and are very proud of what and who you are. Prayers for you and yours always, Thanks for sharing your parents with us!

    April Block (previous co-worker) said:
    June 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    To Al & Sue’s family! I am shock and I cannot imagine your pain! Al and Sue gave all they could to the children of St. Joseph’s Indian School. They will both be greatly missed! Your family is in my thoughts & prayers!

    Denise Hyland said:
    June 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Al & Sue family – I am so sorry for your lose. I had the privilege of knowing your parents through St. Joseph’s Indian School – they were wonderful and amazing people. Please know your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Denise Hyland

    jJoel and Norma Kannegieter said:
    June 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Missy my heart breaks with you and your family, your parents were very special people, they have help change the lives of so many, and even if we know they are in a much better place it is hard to except that your mom and I will no longer have our long talks. She was so proud of you and your family little Angel and Caleb were the light of her life when she would talk of them her eyes would sparkle, please let us know if you need help with anything

    Jerri McKinley said:
    June 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Missy and family,
    I am so sorry to hear about your parents’s sudden deaths. To God be the glory for the lives they served in Him. There are no words to say except I love your family. I am available to come play with the kids whenever you call. I know others have offered, too. Both of my parents are gone, too, and I will only reunite with my Mom in heaven. So happy that you will be with both your Mom and Dad for all eternity.
    Love in Christ
    jerri mckinley

      Kaye Hauser said:
      June 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Missy and family,
      We are absolutely heartbroken and devestated over the loss of Sue and Al. They were such special people to all of us on the dock and will be truely missed by everyone! Our hearts certainly go out to each one of you. The only comforting thought is that they both passed on peacefully and painlessly doing something they both loved to do. Our prayers are certainly with each of you!
      Kaye and Larry Hauser

    Kelli Pazour said:
    June 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    God only takes the best–and your parents were THE BEST! As a teacher at Chamberlain High School, I got to know them both while they were houseparents at St. Joe’s. Your dad has also done many projects for me with his plaque business. They were such amazing people. Could always count on them for a smile and good conversation. Several months ago, I was humbled when I opened my mail. Your mother had sent me a card with many kind words and a gift card to Pizza Hut. Her thoughtfulness and kindness were driven by faith and a church project. I will never forget that. They will be missed by many, but have touched so many people that a part of them will live forever. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

    Savanna-Rae said:
    June 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with your family at this unbelievable time. I knew Sue and Al from St. Joes, they were amazing people. I was not in their home but I was able to spend some time with them and am glad that I was able to do so! They made life all the richer! They will be missed greatly!

    katie mccormick-jibben said:
    June 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I went to school with Jimmy and deeply saddened to hear of loss of your parents. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
    Katie McCormick-Jibben

    Kelly Peterson said:
    June 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Oh Missy, my heart is so broken for all of you. I never had the privilege of meeting your parents this side of heaven, but it was so very clear how deeply they loved you, your husband and your children. Your blog posts always illustrated their giving and loving spirits. I am so sorry for the deep pain all of you are feeling from such a sudden loss. Please know that my family and I will be lifting you all up in prayer during this extremely difficult time. May your Heavenly Father comfort you with His perfect peace.

    Melinda Brown said:
    June 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Your parents were the most genuine, caring people I have ever met in my life, I am truly sad to hear of their passing. What a joy to go to sleep, and wake up in heaven!

    Wanda Bunker said:
    June 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Missy & family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I knew your parents and knew how much they loved the Lord & know that they are in His presence & are rejoicing!! I am sure they were so sad to leave you all as they talked about all a lot & I know how very much they loved you all!!! Please know that I am praying for the comfort that can only come from above to help you through this most difficult time. I loved Al & Sue and miss them so much & can’t wait to see them again in heaven!!

    Michelle (Battest) Perez said:
    June 14, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Missy, you very poetically put to words an extremely powerful and touching statement. I remember your folks always being so.welcoming and their smiles even thru all of Redfields teens pouring thru their home! My heart aches for.your family’s loss yet there is comfort knowing Jesus welcomed them home. Again, sending prayers of comfort in this tragic time.

    Audrey Metzger said:
    June 14, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Missy, Pat & family—-my heart goes out to you in this wrenching loss. I have no profound words of comfort to offer, but please know that my prayers include you….and the One who hears & answers prayer, does have ways to comfort & console. May He hold you in His loving arms now & in the days ahead…. Audrey Metzger

    Stacy Frost said:
    June 14, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Missy and family, our hearts are breaking for you loss. I keep thinking of you with your mom on many occasions of you together at church. All I can think of is the love she had for you and how much she loved your kids. Praying for your pain to get easier each day and for you to keep your memories close in your heart. Know that God has his hands on all of you. Prayers for you to see the rainbow in your rain.
    Stacy Frost

    sincerelyanna said:
    June 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Oh Missy, I’m shaking right now. I’m so sorry to read this, so sorry for your loss. I’ve loved the pictures you’ve posted on your blog, and the loving memories that you’ve shared. Praying for your family, that God gives you enormous measures of grace and hope through this difficult time.

    char and lee brownell said:
    June 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I will miss Sue and Al soo much. We worked with them at St. Joes. They were so good for they kids out there. I will miss Sues smiling face and the hugs we gave each other every time we seen each other. My prayers r with ur family.


    Margie and Tom Smotherman said:
    June 15, 2012 at 4:26 am


    I heard the news when I came to work last night. I am so sorry to hear about your parents. I will pray for you and your family. What else can I do to help? I can watch kids, dogs, cook (well Tom does that better, so he can do that for you) come clean your house. Let me know. You may have a lot of help in the days to come but please accept my offer any time. There is no expiration date.

    Tracy Vaad Burkard said:
    June 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Missy and family,
    My father Jerry Vaad and I worked with Al and Sue at St. Joes for many years. We are blessed to have known them as they were exceptional people. I will cherish the book that Sue signed for my children years ago. They were doing what they loved, god has welcomed them with open arms. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Tracy Burkard

    Carrie Glaser said:
    June 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Missy and your family and brothers and sister,
    We are so sorry to hear about your Mom and Dad. We are your Dad’s Uncle Dan from Washington. We only wish we would of been able to come back there to be with all of you. We too, share with all of you, your loss . Your Dad and your Uncle Bob came out here to live with us years ago and we had the chance to get to share those days with them. As everyone said, they were so special to so many people. We will always have them in our prayers and hearts and the thoughts of those dimples your Mom had and your Dad’s cute smile. We know that one day we will all be together again. Until that day comes we have two great Angels watching over all of you and your families. God be with you all and hope we can keep in touch with you. Uncle Dan and Aunt Carrie

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