Helge Staarup Welling


It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Helge Straarup Welling on December 14, 2023. He was born in Vejen, Denmark on February 12, 1929, as the 7th of 10 children. He grew up on the dairy farm, Haksengaard, milking cows; doing gymnastics with his brothers; and discussing philosophy with family friend, Vilhelm Gernhammer.

In 1951, after serving his country as a conscientious objector in a Danish labour camp, he emigrated to Canada along with his brothers: Jens (who stayed briefly), Frede, and Arne. He worked on farms in both BC and AB, then settled in Edmonton where he met and married Muriel Fredeen, and began working at the Department of Plant Science at the University of Alberta. He spent 31 years at the University, acting as greenhouse supervisor and taking delight in growing the tropical display case that once graced the Agriculture-Forestry Building. He assisted university researchers in the selective breeding of canola and other crops. He also ran a nursery and a landscaping business, and taught many classes on horticulture and indoor gardening at NAIT and other places. Additionally, he contributed to the University of Alberta’s “Home Gardening Course” textbook.

Helge loved flowers, especially orchids and violets, and was a member of the Orchid and Gesneriaceae Societies of Alberta for many years. He was a lifelong gymnast, only giving up handstands at age 87. He was a member of both the Dynamos and UofAgers gymnastics troupes for seniors and loved performing with them; the performances at two World Gymnaestrada events in Europe were especially meaningful to him. He loved dancing and was a member for 40 years of the Edmonton International Folkdancers, where he met his second wife, Laurel Gauld. As a member of the Valhalla Scandinavian Folkdancers, he enjoyed dancing at the Heritage Festival.

Helge was deeply introspective, searching to understand himself and find meaning in life. He translated Vilhelm Gernhammer’s “Why Life Dies,” and the 7 volume “Symbols and Symbol Interpretation,” into English. In accordance with the ideas expressed in these books, Helge chose to live by the principle of non-violence; he chose to love and understand those around him, even if there were conflicts. He delighted in puns and word play and the interplay between different languages. He spoke Danish and English fluently. He studied Esperanto and felt that this world-connecting language was important. He loved singing, literature, storytelling, flowers, good food, and of course, family.

Helge is predeceased by his father, Rasmus, mother, Anna, and siblings: Søren, Jens, Maja, Agatha, Frede, Aage, twins- Ejnar and Gunnar, and by his first wife, Muriel. He is survived by his brother Arne (Aase), wife Laurel, 6 children: Lynn, Alvin (Myrel), Jean (Fred), Karen(Dana), Brian, and Heather (Kurtis), 9 grandchildren: Sean, Alex, Jeffrey, Scarlet, Julie, Mariah, Duncan, Gavin, and Max, and 2 great grandchildren: Marrissa and Connor. He deeply loved his family and we will all miss his warmth and empathy. We hope you will connect with the joy and love that he embodied and spread it to others: sing a song, enjoy some flowers, smile, and above all, hug those you love.

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5 Condolences

Chett (Butch) Grove

My Condolences to the Welling family, my family lived across the street in the mid 60’s. With many fond memories of visits, playing with the kids, trying to teach Jeanie; Karen to skate on their small back yard ice, we walked to school with Lyn; Alvin, with weekly evening trips in their VW bus to gymnastics to which Helge helped teach. Helge a fit man who could walk on his hands around the house, but to me I most remember him as a quiet soft spoken kind man.

Cynthia Wannamaker

So sorry for your loss, Lynn, Laurel and families. Although I never met Helge, I heard many stories. He lived a full, rich life!

Anna Ibsen

Kære MorBror Helge!

Tusind TAK for Din gode hjælp til min Datter Maja ved Dit sidste besøg i Kolding, Danmark! Hun nød virkelig Din gode undervisning i gymnastik på græs og i trampolin. Jeg nød vores samtaler og at se mange familiemedlemmer og steder sammen med Dig – Også Dine fine tekster om Dit liv nyder jeg at læse – Du var et dejligt menneske at kende og være i familie med 3

Kærlige hilsener og TAK
Anna Elisabeth


I will remember you for your warm, gentle presense. You were much to be admired and appreciated.

Laura Kate

Thank you for sharing about him here, he sounds absolutely delightful. My heart and prayers are with you as you navigate this massive transition in your family. With love and tenderness, Laura (friend of Brian).