On September 2, 2023, John Harry Hellweg Jr., of Greenville, WI went to be with the Lord at the age of 90 with his beloved wife Hilde and children at his side.
John was born in 1933 to Sara and John H. Hellweg Sr. in Wauwatosa, WI. In 1955, after John graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree, he joined the Air Force and started his training in Wyoming. While in training John met Hilde and instantly fell in love. They were married in February of 1956 and moved to Cocoa Beach, FL where John completed his service with the Air Force and was discharged as a Captain. While in FL their son John Michael was born. After leaving the Air Force, John started working for Kimberly-Clark Corporation and was transferred to New Milford, CT where their daughter Catherine Ann was born. John’s career continued to flourish and the family was transferred to Memphis, TN where they had two more children, Stephan Alexander and Susan Evelyn. John’s career led them to Aiken, SC and Conway, AR before settling in Wisconsin. Even with a busy career, John found time to volunteer with the Boy Scouts when the kids were younger, and the Knights of Columbus. In 1979, he became a friend of Bill W. and was very devoted to their 12 step program as well as being a sponsor to many.
In 1982, John also started a nonprofit organization called Step Industries. John had been serving on the board of directors for the Mooring House, a nonprofit treatment program in Appleton, WI that helped men with alcohol and drug addictions. He saw how difficult it was for the addict in their early recovery time to find employment. John correctly believed that employment was an essential ingredient to lasting sobriety and he set about to create a nonprofit organization to fulfill this need. Knowing of a recycling project within Kimberly-Clark that required outsourced labor, John put together a board of directors, got nonprofit status, hired a startup team, and secured a bank loan to establish Step Industries. They opened in Neenah, WI in late September, 1982. Now merged with the Mooring House as Apricity, Step Industries has helped thousands of people over the past 41 years thanks to John’s compassion and vision.
John retired from Kimberly-Clark as Vice President of Manufacturing in May of 1988. After John’s retirement, he and Hilde enjoyed their beautiful home in King, WI on 100 acres where John could hunt and fish to his heart's content. They also purchased a motorhome to travel the United States, and later spent wintertime in Green Valley, AZ. Eventually they settled in Greenville, WI in 2008.
Most importantly, John was a devout Catholic and loved sharing his story and how the Lord Jesus Christ saved him. He often said, “God has taken care of me my whole life. I believe He will continue to do that.”
John is preceded in death by his parents Sara and John H. Hellweg Sr.; his brother-in-law George Moorwessel; and his son-in-law Jerry Fronek.
John is survived by his wife, Hilde; their children, Michael (Julie), Cathy, Steve (Lois), and Susan (Brian); and his sister Sally Moorwessel. John is also survived by his grandchildren, Ben (Patti), Chris (Rebecka), Allison, Alex (Deborah), Jessica (Trevor), Nicole (Jordan), Jennifer (Marcus), Megan (Alex), Heather (Samuel), and Justin; and great-grandchildren, Noah, Elizabeth, Lilie, Lucie, Grayden, Caspian, Graham and Lennon. John will be missed by many and his family is comforted that he is now with his Savior Jesus.
A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at 11 am on Friday, September 8, at St. Mary Catholic Church, N2385 Municipal Dr, Greenville, with Father Michael Warden officiating. Visitation will begin at 10am at the church until the time of service. Interment will take place at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, Waupaca at a later date. In lieu of flowers, financial contributions in memory of John can be made to the Salvation Army using the link below.