Cover photo for Kenneth James Hellmer's Obituary
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Kenneth James Hellmer

d. April 13, 2023

Kenneth James Hellmer

January 2, 1951 – April 13, 2023

Kenneth James Hellmer (Ken), 72 of Bakersfield, California, passed away on April 13, 2023 after a courageous five year fight with pancreatic cancer.

He was born in Whittier, California on January 2, 1951 to Edward & Dorothy Hellmer. Kenneth graduated from St. Pius High School in 1969 and went to the University of New Mexico where he graduated with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering in 1973.

A Celebration of Life for Kenneth will be on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 11am at First United Methodist Church, 4600 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield 93309. Ken & Lynn said their “I do’s” in the chapel of this church 33 years ago and it will be here where they will say their “till death do us part” goodbye.

Ken started his 28-year career with Shell Oil Company in 1973 as a Drilling Engineer. He enjoyed the challenges of his job and was posted to many locations including Denver, Midland, Alaska, Ventura and Bakersfield. In Bakersfield, Ken was assigned to the West Coast Division and progressed to be the Drilling Engineering Manager, covering all of California, including Belridge, Ventura, Huntington Beach, The Geysers, Shell exploration wells, offshore Beta, Channel Islands and Pt. Conception exploration & subsea well abandonment. After Aera (a subsidiary of Shell) was formed in 1997, Ken worked on increasing the capabilities of horizontal drilling and high temperature steam injection. Ken was respected by everyone in Operations and Engineering for his knowledge, experience, and ability to remain calm in difficult situations. He was more than just a “boss”, he was a mentor and an excellent teacher, bringing amazing clarity to a problem. He would always listen to what everyone had to say before making a final decision. In addition to his management abilities, his employees greatly valued his guidance and mentoring. Ken was directly responsible for countless careers in Shell and Aera.

In 1988, Ken was a member of the panel that interviewed Lynn and Lynn was hired on by Shell. They had 15 happy years working together and created many lifelong friendships with their colleagues. In 1989, Ken was invited to join Lynn’s company sponsored bowling team “The Scuds” where they socialized and immediately fell in love. It was love at first sight and within six months they were married. Together with Ken’s daughter, Elisabeth (11), and Lynn’s daughter, Janeatte (9), they created a blended family and lovingly raised their daughters together.

Ken’s love for Lynn is exemplary in many ways but especially in their travels to countries near and far even though Ken was terrified of flying. Despite Ken’s fear of flying, they visited more than 45 countries. After each tour or cruise, Ken would tell Lynn how much he enjoyed the sites and sights. His favorite countries were New Zealand and India.

Ken & Lynn retired in 2000 when he was 50 years old and Lynn, 40. They tooled around this country in an RV for nine months, traveling more than 10,000 miles visiting battlefields, museums, landmarks, national parks, factories, friends and family along the way. They lived in Malaysia, where Lynn is from, for nine months before settling down to a retired life in Ventura. They moved back to Bakersfield in 2010 to be near family.

The one special person that puts a sparkle in Ken’s eyes and a smile on his face is his very precious granddaughter, Sophie McKee. His love for her knows no bounds. They would play, read & discuss books, chat, play chess & games, bicycle rides & walks, and talk about school & friends. Sophie truly puts the colors in his world, and Sophie adored her Papa.

Ken is a through and through family man; he is always loving, kind, gentle, giving, and patient with everyone in his and Lynn’s extended family. Everyone loved him. Everyone!

Kenneth was preceded by his parents Edward & Dorothy Hellmer. He is survived by his loving wife, Lynn, his daughters, Elisabeth (Tim), Janeatte (fiance, Fabricio) and his precious grand daughter, Sophie McKee. He is also survived by his sister Kathy Sills, brothers Gary (Corrine), Ron (Charlene), Mike, Carl, and Mark (Anna) and many nephews and nieces.

*To love deeply is to grieve deeply*

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth James Hellmer, please visit our flower store.


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