Matthew Helgesen Obituary

Matthew John Helgesen
Matthew John Helgesen

June 14, 1969 - March 3, 2020
Born in Ketchikan, Alaska
Resided in Hydaburg, Alaska


It is with profound sadness that the family Matthew John Helgesen of Hydaburg, Alaska share the news of his peaceful passing on March 3, 2020 at the age of 50 years.

Matthew John Helgesen was born in Ketchikan, Alaska to Gerard and Judy Helgesen on June 14, 1969. He grew up in Hydaburg on Prince of Wales Island. Matthew married his wife, Pamela, in Thibodeaux, Louisiana on July 9, 1994. They had one beautiful daughter, Sara Nicole. In 1997, Pam and Matt moved to Ketchikan where they would live for several years together.

Matthew was a soft spoken, modest, hardworking and humble man. He was a loving husband and father; a loyal and dependable relative and friend; and he was deeply loved by all who knew him. He was quick to offer help if he recognized someone in need and could always be counted on if any of his friends or family needed anything.

Matthew had many passions growing up. From a young age, Matthew learned how to hunt and fish. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed teaching his brother and his cousins how to hunt, trap and fish. He was also an accomplished athlete. While he was in high school, he helped lead Hydaburg to the state tournament four years in a row and played a leading role in helping the team win a state championship for his community. In his senior year, he was selected to the 1988 Alaska State All Star Game.

Matthew joined the National Guard on June 14, 1987. After graduating from Hydaburg High School in 1988, Matthew immediately joined the United States Marine Corps and served his country for four years. He earned several distinguished awards during his service.
One of Matthew’s greatest passions was his love for the Haida art. He was an Eagle/Frog of the Sgajuuga.ahl clan. He studied under Haida master carver Warren Peele and was an apprentice of Tlingit master carver Norman G. Jackson. Matthew was proud of his Haida heritage and loved being able to represent his people and his culture through the art he created. His work was commissioned by several organizations and sold privately throughout Alaska.

On April 20, 2018, Matthew was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He and his wife spent the past two years living in Anchorage seeking treatment. He passed away in his home surrounded by family and friends on March 3, 2020.

Matthew was preceded in death by his grandmother Violet Franzewski, grandfather Sidney Carle, Sr., grandmother Florence Helgesen-Johnson, grandfather Arthur Helgesen, mother-in-law Beverly Grant, sister-in-law Michelle Pearson and his younger brother Gerard B. Helgesen, Jr.
Matthew is survived by his mother Judy Helgesen, father Gerard B. Helgesen, Sr., wife Pamela Helgesen, daughter Sara Helgesen, son-in-law Brice Macasaet, father-in-law Bruce Lemoine, and numerous aunties, uncles and cousins.

Matthew’s wife Pamela would like to extend a special thank you to John and Cindy Johanson and Roald and Carly Helgesen for their love and heartfelt support.

To plant a tree in memory of Matthew Helgesen, please visit our Tribute Store.