In Memory

Mr. Helmer Aasheim (History)

Col. Helmer T. "Ham" Aasheim


Col. Helmer T. "Ham" Aasheim, USAF Ret., 93, passed away at his home in Napa on Aug. 9, 2006. He was born in Wapheton, S.D. on Sept. 20, 1912 to Edward and Helena Aasheim who were both from Norway.

His family homesteaded in Malta, Mont. and then moved to Grand Forks, N.D. where he attended school. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a business degree in 1938. In 1946 he was in the first graduating class from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. He later received his master's degree in international relations from the University of Minnesota in 1955.

In 1940 he married Gladys Ona in Great Falls, Mont. They remained married for 49 years until she passed away in 1989.

He served in World War II as part of the Army Air Corps stationed in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. He was recalled into active duty in 1951 during the Korean War. He made the decision at that point to pursue a military career. From 1955 until his retirement in 1966 he served as an officer in the Office of Special Investigations with the Air Force. His most memorable assignments were as Commander of the Turkey-Greece District from 1957 to 1959, Commander of the OSI Academy in Washington, D.C. from 1960 to 1963, and Commander of the Alaska District from 1963 to 1966.

He moved to Napa in 1966 and began a second career as a history teacher at Fairfield High School. He retired from teaching in 1977.

In his retirement years, he pursued his interests of photography, travel, golf and enjoying family and friends. He was a member of the Sons of Norway, including their Vikings Travelers and an active member of the Lutheran Church in Napa.

He is survived by his three children, Steve Aasheim and his wife, Carol of Gainesville, Fla., Sharon Coker of Yountville and Fred Aasheim and his wife, Judy of Seattle, Wash. He is also survived by his four grandchildren, Bryan Aasheim, Kari Aasheim, Kristin Coker and Amy Aasheim; and his sister, Evelyn Gill of Klamath Falls, Ore.

He took great pride in the fact that all of his children and grandchildren received a college education, which he helped support.

The funeral service will be held Friday, Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Claffey and Rota Funeral Home, 1975 Main St. in Napa. Burial will follow at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.