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“To a wonderful human being in all aspects of life. Coach Helmbreck was the guiding force for my success on the mat, and the discipline he instilled...Read More »
1 of 21 | Posted by: Rick Widdoes - Newark, DE

“When one looks at all the teachers and coaches that affected their lives and consequently the lives of those who we affect, Coach Helmbreck stands...Read More »
2 of 21 | Posted by: Paul Edwards - Charlotte, NC

“Mr./Coach Helmbreck was my coach, my boss and my friend. He helped me become a good person and family man. I wont' forget the lessons learned...Read More »
3 of 21 | Posted by: Rich Ranauto - DE - friend

“The von Stetten Family sends their condolensces to the family of Earl Helmbreck. I am writing this memory on behalf of my father Wayne Von Stetten,...Read More »
4 of 21 | Posted by: Wayne Von Stetten II - Lancaster, PA

“Thank you for the lessons you taught me. Go "rassle" with my Dad. ”
5 of 21 | Posted by: James Snyder - Wilmington, DE

“Upon hearing of the passing of Mr./Coach Helmbreck, I reflected upon the extremely valuable life lessons he taught to my 2 brothers and me as...Read More »
6 of 21 | Posted by: Tom Doud - VT - Student

“Alice, Valerie, and GretchenYou know how much your dad, as well as your mother, meant to me and Bill. We had so many happy times together. Those...Read More »
7 of 21 | Posted by: Mary Pritchett - Lewes, DE

“Alice, Valerie and Gretchen,Your Dad will be truly missed. I have fond memories going back to childhood - he always was fun and happy. He meant a...Read More »
8 of 21 | Posted by: Teresa Ford - Lewes, DE - Friend


9 of 21 | Posted by: Paul Carlevato

“Great tennis coach. Watch the form. Made it to first doubles in the state ('70) with partner Tom. ”
10 of 21 | Posted by: Thomas Lawlor - Roanoke, VA

“Great wrestling coach, great man. He had many words of wisdom, but one of my favorites that got me through some tough times in wrestling and in life...Read More »
11 of 21 | Posted by: Kevin Maher - Colorado Springs, CO

“RIP Mr. Helmbreck. A great Teacher, mentor and coach. I "rassled" (that is how he said it) for Earl for 3 years at Brandywine High 1968-1970. It...Read More »
12 of 21 | Posted by: A friend

“Mr. Helmbreck was a great teacher and person. As a teacher and coach myself I very often channel my inner Mr. Helmbreck and tell the kids to line up...Read More »
13 of 21 | Posted by: Peter Johnson - Quincy, MA

“What a great man and what a legacy he created in so many areas! While my W-L record may not have been memorable, what I do remember is that he...Read More »
14 of 21 | Posted by: Greg Lavelle - Wilmington, DE

“My teacher, my Coach, my Friend. Simply easily the best. All that I was able to do on the wrestling mat was because of your help. Almost...Read More »
15 of 21 | Posted by: Paul Ruggiero - Wilmington, DE

“Earl was one of a kind. He was the voice I heard in my head when things got rough saying " You may not win, but let them know you were there." As...Read More »
16 of 21 | Posted by: Bill Bergstrom - Rowlett, TX

“"You're only as strong as your weakest link.""There was a never a horse that couldn't be rode; and never a man that couldn't be throwed."I shall miss...Read More »
17 of 21 | Posted by: Brian McNamee - Helena, MT

“Few men had a greater impact on my life than Coach Helmbreck. What he taught about discipline, fair play, and when to pour it on was the gift of a...Read More »
18 of 21 | Posted by: Clark Kingery - Wilmington, DE

“Coach Helmbreck showed great passion and dedication to his teams. He had an unforgettable influence on so many. Anyone who wrestled for him was...Read More »
19 of 21 | Posted by: Stephen Marsh - Hamden, CT

“A man of integrity and discipline leaving his mark on many. My condolences to his family. Willard Glenn BHS 1972 ”
20 of 21 | Posted by: Willard Glenn - CA

“Rest in Peace Coach. ”
21 of 21 | Posted by: John Scoggin - Newark, DE


Earl James Helmbreck, 91, died March 22, 2017
Longtime Brandywine High School teacher and coach Earl James Helmbreck Jr., whose wrestling and tennis teams managed only five losing seasons under his tutelage, died March 22 in Jennersville, PA, after battling heart disease for nearly fifty years. He was 91.
Helmbreck taught physical education for nearly 30 years at Brandywine, and generations of former students can still recall his instructions to "line up alphabetically by height" or "pair off in threes."
He made his greatest mark as a coach of both Brandywine's wrestling and tennis teams, guiding the tennis squad to multiple state victories and becoming the state's longtime record holder for most consecutive tennis team wins with one 65-match winning streak that lasted from 1965 to 1970. In 15 years, his tennis teams lost only five matches and in 1968, he was named the state's top net coach by the Delaware Lawn Tennis Association. His career tennis coaching record: 265 wins, 5 losses. He won the Ed Faulkner Bowl for the best high school tennis coach in the Middle Atlantic Region. In the 1970s, he was honored at the U.S Open tennis tournament at Forrest Hills as the most successful scholastic tennis coach in the nation.
Despite his achievements as a tennis coach, his great passion was for wrestling, which he coached at Brandywine for more than 25 years. His interest in the sport began in college, after he graduated in 1942 from Newark High School where he was a 5-foot-6, 135-pound football end and competed in track as a hurdler. Newark had no wrestling program but when he went out for football at Ursinus College, he was told he was too small. The coach suggested he try wrestling and he wrestled varsity at 126 pounds for three years and also ran track at the school in Collegeville, PA.
His university career was interrupted by a stint in the Navy, where he served as a Seaman First Class on the aircraft carrier the USS Bon Homme Richard from May 1944 until May 1946 in the South Pacific, and was part of the first American forces stationed off Japan in the early days after the surrender.
He returned to Ursinus to finish his bachelors degree and then moved to New York City to teach at Dobbs Ferry High School in Westchester County, where he coached football and baseball. He also attended Columbia University graduate school to get his masters degree in 1950 when he married the former Alice Juareen LaMastus. He taught in schools in Kingston, NY, Stanton, VA and Fairfax, VA, where he finished his course work on his PhD and began work on his doctoral thesis in education at the University of Maryland, in College Park, MD.
In 1963, he moved back to Delaware and began teaching and coaching at Brandywine High School. He was a member since 1955 of the American College of Sports Medicine.
His retirement in the early 1990s allowed him to devote more time to his passion for music. He played alto saxophone in several Wilmington-area jazz big bands and briefly led his own combo, the Top Hatters, for which he arranged and scored the music.
He was an avid fly fisherman, earning pocket money as a college student by tying flies. He also enjoyed gardening, collecting automobiles, spending time at his summer home in Maine and traveling with his wife of 64 years. They lived for more than 40 years in their home in Bellevue Manor before moving in 2010 to Jenners Pond in West Grove, Pa
Helmbreck was predeceased by his wife in 2015. He is survived by his daughters, Alice Dewson (Thomas) of Greenville; Valerie Helmbreck Mascitti (Albert) of Hockessin; Gretchen Gates (Carl) of Lewes; and grandsons Carl III, Wilson and Taylor Gates; Dr. Alexis, Matthew and Ruben "Rina" Mascitti; and Thomas Dewson III; and four great grandsons.
Services will be May 20 at 1 p.m. at Christ Church Christiana Hundred, 505 E. Buck Road, Greenville, DE 19807 with a reception immediately following. Burial will be private at the family cemetery in Chesapeake City, MD.
Instead of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Choir School of Delaware, 719 N. Shipley Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 or ccsde.org.