James “Jim” Hellmann

Fun-loving. Free-spirited. Folksy. These are just some of the adjectives friends and family use to describe Jim Hellmann.

Jim brought a smile to everyone’s face and was known for his hilarious stories, passion for music, and uncanny ability to name any animal he came in contact with.

Jim died unexpectedly Wednesday, May 16, 2012, while doing something he loved to do: run in Rock Bridge State Park.

Jim, the son of Robert and Joanne Hellmann, is survived by his parents; daughter, Andrea; son, Timothy; wife, Cathy; dogs, Gustav and Lucy; 2 fish, George and Saddam; and his roosters, Al Capone and Rufio.

Jim, a St. Louis native, was well known in Columbia for his music, hard work, and friendship. His memories will be treasured forever in the hearts of those who knew him. One week prior to his untimely death, he wrote a song, “I have to go. A different world calls for me. I’ll come back soon, and when I do, I’ll look for you.” We hope so Jim. You’ll be missed.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2012, at Cooper’s Landing in Columbia.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Jim Hellmann’s honor at Second Chance Columbia.


  1. Mallory Jensen on May 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I did not have the pleasure of knowing Jim Hellman, but I have had the pleasure of working with his daughter, Andrea, for the last 5 years. She is a hard worker and a passionate person, all of which I am sure that she learned from her father. Andrea and family, I will continue to pray for you through this challenging time. If there is anything that you or your family needs, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

  2. Mirra Greenway on May 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I am many miles away, and was unable to attend the memorial, but my heart is with you Cathy, Andrea and Tim. I am in shock over his passing, and grieving from a distance along with you. Love, Mirra

  3. Win Grace on May 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Sending love to Jim’s many friends and family. Missed the gathering at Cooper’s but thought of Jim often last weekend as I played music at a flatpicking workshop by the Meremac River. It was as if he came by to visit and hear the lovely music there, too.

    During a difficult time in my life when I had lost my joy of music, I spent every Tuesday night playing music with Jim, Mark, Patty, Dave and Pattie. On frigid winter nights Jim would build a warm fire and as we played the music warmed my heart. Jim was always encouraging and accepting, a master at fitting in and making other people sound good. We had some hilarious times getting our cars up and down Jim’s icy hill during the winter. Once when playing outside, there was a particularly soulful song and when we finished, Jim’s rooster beautifully crowed his approval. Those Tuesday nights at Jim’s home were healing for me.

    I am shocked that Jim left us too young, too soon — and I send love and healing to Jim’s children.

    I am grateful for Jim’s presence in my life.

    With love, Win Grace

  4. Deborah (Buxell) Kelly on May 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I have (unfortunately) literally not seen Jim for AGES– probably not since I finished college at Columbia therefore I am both shocked and saddened to hear about Jim’s untimely passing which I just found out from my Mom in St. Louis. There is a special bond those of us around Jim’s age all share since we all grew up and went to school together while living in Claymont. I have lived away from St. Louis for a number of years and now live in Denver, CO but I will ALWAYS have fond memories of Jim in my heart and of how I remember him as a super-kind and gentle guy, with amazing “smiling” eyes! Jim is the just the kind of guy whom I could easily imagine penning the words to that last song…he is he type who seemed to “know” that all “will be good”(!) and he will be back to make sure it is…so keep your eye out for him! Jim had the ability to “light up” any place he was. I also recall his love of animals in particular, and I have always appreciated his very grounded, down-to-earth attitude and approach to all things. I well recall, Jim’s work ethic was second to none as Jim, Phil, and Gordon Mitchell often worked for my Dad and were around our house when we were growing up. To Cathy, Andrea and Tim, Mr. and Mrs. Hellmann (my former piano teacher!), Jim’s family, and all of Jim’s many friends, some of whom I know well, my heart goes out to you all as I KNOW you are hurting. Jim left a special part of him with all of us. We have been blessed just to know him. To Jim: May we all someday see you again…thanks for the being in our lives! God Bless you and your family, Kindest regards, Deborah (Buxell) Kelly and the entire Buxell Family: Irv, Judy, Linda, Kim and Jennifer

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