January 11, 2008

Recently, the Gordon A. & Mary Cain Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE) received a donation of more than $730,000 from the will of alumnus Clements Helblings, Jr. Mr. Helblings left this money to the Department through his estate and it will be designated toward the new ChE building fund. This generous donation came unannounced, prior to the settlement of his estate. His niece, Barbara A. Forschler, was able to give us a glimpse of Mr. Helbling, stating “He was a very private person,” she said. “Not braggadocious.”

Helbling was a Lake Charles native, which was the only place his death was announced at his direction. He never married nor did he have any children. He was the youngest of five and had four sisters. “He took care of his mother,” Forschler said. “That was ‘kind of his job.’”

Helbling graduated from LSU with a Bachelor’s degree in ChE in 1949 and a Master’s degree in ChE in 1950. He served in the U.S. Navy and spent his entire career with Texaco, retiring in 1983. Experiencing many travel opportunities, he lived in New York for a short time before his final stop in Houston. According to his niece, “his hobby was earning the best interest on his money.” She also stated that all the members of the family are “great believers in education.”

Harriett Pooler, Associate Director of Development in the College of Engineering says she regrets that Mr. Helblings’ gift was unknown until after his death, stating “If we had known about his plans for his estate, we could have thanked him and shown him how this gift will grow and benefit the College and the students of tomorrow.”

Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu

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