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John J. Helinski, 80, of Blasdell, a retired Bethlehem Steel employee and decorated World War II veteran, died Sunday (Aug. 23, 1998) at his home after a lengthy illness.

Born in Buffalo, he graduated from East High School and served during World War II with the Office of Strategic Services. Fluent in most European languages, he performed reconnaissance off the Dalmatian Coast in Yugoslavia and Greece, parachuting into enemy territory and often traveling in lightly armed partisan fishing boats. He was awarded the Bronze Star for "superior performance that contributed to Allied Forces success in those islands."

He retired from Bethlehem Steel in 1983 after 34 years of service. He was a member of the Col. John B. Weber Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Lackawanna.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, the former Mary Rachuna; a son, Jack of Cheektowaga; a brother, Victor; a sister, Florence Zawisa; and one grandchild.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Our Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 3680 South Park Ave., Blasdell. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.

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