Frank A. Helseth, age 76, of Boone, passed away Thursday, February 6, 2014, in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Born on November 8, 1937 in Vero Beach, Florida, Frank was the son of Edwin and Flossie Helseth. He was a 1962 graduate of Appalachian State University and a 1968 graduate of the University of Georgia where he earned his PhD. in Plant Physiology. His entire academic career was spent as a faculty member in the Biology Department of Appalachian State University. He also taught in the Honors Program and was one of the founding members of the Earth Studies Program which has become the Sustainable Development Program.

In the words of his niece Leslie, “My Uncle Frank was truly a Renaissance man.” Frank was a university professor, a mentor, an environmentalist, an active community volunteer (working tirelessly for Habitat for Humanity, the Farm Café, and the Valle Crucis Garden), an inspired cook, an avid reader, and a supporter of the arts. He was also a visionary builder of houses, apartments and condominiums. Frank will be remembered as a “fixer” to quote Taylor, Frank’s son-in-law: “he would just show up when there was a problem without being asked and methodically, efficiently, and generously solve and fix the problem.”

Most of all, Frank was Donna’s loving husband for fifty-five years; Kim’s father; Taylor’s father-in-law; Ellery and ViVi’s doting grandfather; Betty’s big brother; Debbie and Jack’s brother-in-law; Leslie, Leigh and Beth’s uncle; Jordan, Christopher, Thomas, and Ethan’s great uncle; and numerous Helseth and Carter cousins. He was a friend to many, many people. Frank was predeceased by his parents and by his younger brother Ted. Frank is remembered for his quiet and thoughtful insight, his equally subtle but robust sense of humor, and his love of working with and in the earth.

A Celebration of Frank Helseth’s Life will be held on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. at High Country United Church of Christ located at 8233 Highway 421 North, Vilas, North Carolina 28692. A reception will be held immediately following the service in the church assembly hall.

Memorials may be made to Hardin Park Food Bank, 361 Jefferson Road, Boone, North Carolina 28607 or Hospitality House, P.O. Box 309, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

Online condolences may be sent to the Helseth family at

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