Dr. William L. Helkie
1906 A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County Michigan
By Judge Orville W. Coolidge
Dr. William L. Helkie, engaged in the general practice of medicine and surgery, and also interested in various manufacturing enterprises, possesses good business ability as well as professional skill. He was born in Essex, Ontario, July 9, 1870, and wTas reared to farm life, his parents being Charles and Mary Ann (Vodden) Helkie, who were likewise natives of Ontario. The father was of German lineage, however, while the mother was of English descent, and they are still residents of Essex. In their family were nine children, six sons and three daughters, of whom the Doctor was the fifth in order of birth and eight of the number are now living, all being residents of Ontario with the exception of Dr. Helkie of this review and Mrs. A. B. Cooper of Detroit, Michigan.
In taking up the personal history of Dr. Helkie we present to our readers the life record of one who is widely and favorably known here by reason of his professional ability and his many admirable personal traits. He was reared to farm life, making the old homestead his home until about 1892, during which time he attended the high school of his native city. He was engaged in teaching for three consecutive years in the country schools and in 1892 went to Detroit, taking out naturalization papers. In the same year he entered the Detroit College of Medicine, and completed his course in 1895. During his senior year he was appointed house physician of St. Mary's Hospital, and acted in that capacity until he came to Three Oaks in May, 1895. Here he entered upon general practice and is a member of the Kalamazoo Academy of Medicine and of the Berrien County and State Medical Societies. He keeps in touch with the progress of the profession through constant reading and research, and his labors have been of direct benefit to his fellowmen as the years have gone by, a liberal patronage being accorded him. He is likewise interested in various manufacturing enterprises, some of which are located in Philadelphia, Pennsvlvania, and others in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Dr. Helkie was married in Three Oaks, in 1896, to Miss Parla Belle Sheldon, a native of Kansas, and a daughter of Rev. James Blakeslee Sheldon, a minister of the Presbyterian church, who died in Kansas, after which his widow came to Michigan with her three children. Dr. and Mrs. Helkie have no children of their own but have an adopted son, Donald Lawrence. The family occupy a pleasant residence, which is owned by Dr. Helkie, who also has some good business property in town. His political support is given to the Republican party, and as every true American citizen should do, he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. He has the same loyalty for the stars and stripes which is manifest by those who were born under the folds of the American banner, and his interest in community affairs is deep and sincere, leading to active co-operation in many measures for the general good. He is identified with a number of local fraternal orders and is also a consistent member of the Congregational church.
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