Thomas B. Helm, III

Date of Birth

April 14, 1950

Date of Death

May 7, 2009

City of Death


An evening rosary was held on May 11, and a funeral Mass followed on May 12 at St Joseph’s Church in Carpinteria. Burial took place at Carpinteria Cemetary. Donations may be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

What do you get when you mix the faith and compassion of John Paul II, the musical genius of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the domestic artistry of Oscar Madison, and a hand forever holding a Big Gulp of diet Pepsi with LOTS of ice?
Tom Helm.

And these are but a few of his many characteristics.

Tom was born in Santa Barbara on April 14, 1950 at St. Francis Hospital. He attended Dolores and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grammar schools, and graduated from Carpinteria High School in 1968.
Many years later he returned to academics. Having graduated with honors and elected valedictorian of his class, Tom received a degree in nursing.

Tom was a man of many abilities, though he’d be the last to toot his own horn. Over the years he worked as a counselor at Pine Crest Hospital, owned a flower business in Vegas, worked in management at The Home Depot, and was a skilled computer animator and graphics designer. No matter the job, his willingness to lend an open, sympathetic ear and support to coworkers never waivered. Never.

The guitar was one of his first loves. He was a phenomenal musician; his was an extraordinary talent. He was a lead guitarist whose aptitude was held in high esteem by many, but especially by the nephews that he taught.

Nothing was more important to Tom than his love for family. Most things in his life were huge. . . . his appetite, his exercise equipment, his never-more-than-two-feet-away diet Pepsi with LOTS of ice. But this love of family was the most gargantuan of them all. He voiced his gratitude often, and was never too proud to say “I love you” or “I’m sorry”. He would give, or do anything without reservation or pause.

Tom was preceded in death by his father Thomas Helm Jr., brothers Robert, William, and Joseph Helm, and maternal and paternal grandparents. He is survived by his mother, Kathleen Helm (Joe), sisters Mary Helm (Mike), Nancy Garibay (Kiki), and Deborah Helm. Surviving nieces and nephews are Jesse Perez (Nyelie), Devin Garibay, Tamara Garibay (Scotty), and Henry Garibay. Other family members include Jim Andros (Laurie), Anastacia Rice, Ted and Berdee Sampson, Bonnie, Bettie, and Frank Beraldo, numerous cousins, and many friends.

Heartfelt thanks go to Dr. Thomas Beamer, Dr. Gupta, and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, especially Cheryl, Elisabeth, and Yael. A very special note of gratitude also goes to Father Ludo, and the Monday night prayer community at Holy Cross Church. Tom considered the faith and support of these individuals an enormously powerful gift, and treasured every moment he shared with them.

Tom was, and no doubt remains intelligent, honorable, humble, and (if he can get away with it) as “tidy” as Oscar Madison. He’s probably jamming with the choirs of angels with his guitar in one hand, a diet pepsi with LOTS of ice in the other, and a beautiful chow chow named Toby by his side. He’s definitely having the time of his life.


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