Nature 33

Thad Nikolaus Hellenga

May 28, 2021


Thad Nikolaus Hellenga, on May 28, 2021, Thad flew free of earths struggles and has gone on to be reunited with the love of his life, his mom, Renate. Thad was born September 6, 1967, in Cadillac, Michigan, to Ron and Renate (Hoffmann) Hellenga. He was a good boy and deeply loved.

Thad graduated in 1986 from McBain Public School and forever remained a loyal “Rambler”. Hardly a day passed that he didn’t wear something “McBain”.

Thad is survived by dad, Ron (Sherryl) Hellenga. He is also survived by his loving siblings, Tanya (Duane) Baldwin and Lon (Rhonda) Hellenga. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, and nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins, both here and in Germany. He was predeceased by his mom, Renate in 1985.

The family wishes to thank all those who played important roles in Thad’s life. His many, many medical providers who worked diligently to care for Thad’s medical issues; and, all agencies and staff who worked tirelessly for Thad’s well-being. Thanks also to friends, neighbors, and extended family who constantly stayed in touch, with letters, phone calls and encouragement; his loyal school friends who stayed close throughout the years; and his many friends at Cracker Barrel who were like family.

Thanks to Brickways, where Thad resided for many years, for providing semi-independent housing opportunities; and to Lakeshore AFC for their life changing care provided to Thad. They entered our lives at just the right time and we are so appreciative for all they did for Thad and us. Many lasting friendships were established.

From the bottom of our hearts, we are in deep gratitude to the Villa at Traverse Point for their endless companionate care of Thad and us during extremely difficult time. Their patience and love will long be remembered. It was a true measure of going above and beyond, and in our minds, they are all heroes.

Thanks to Hospice of Michigan for providing a comfort zone for Thad and us with their skilled, compassionate staff. They were a wonderful addition to Thad’s and our lives.

Special thanks to Krys and Charlie, who helped and inspired Thad along the way by including him in family functions; attending Thad’s activities and caring for him in needs of time. Many smiles came to Thad as he and Charlie debated music and other subjects on our weekly excursions to Cracker Barrel.

Cremation has taken place, and no public service is planned. Thad’s life will be remembered and celebrated at a future Hellenga family reunion. Those wishing to remember Thad through a memorial gift may wish to consider Special Olympics Michigan, Central Michigan University, MT. Pleasant, MI 48859. This will benefit so many.

Arrangements were made with the Burkholder Family Funeral Home, thoughts and prayers can be left at

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