Walter Hellyer Dies

On Jan. 13, 2023, Walter “Corky” Hellyer, 89, died peacefully surrounded by his wife, Jeanne “Jay” Hellyer, and his family.

Walter Hellyer

Hellyer is survived by Jay, his wife of 66 years; his two children, Brus (Dave) Osborne and Bob (Tora) Hellyer; four grandchildren, Elizabeth, Corky, Lettie and Nellie; six great-grandchildren; and sister, Lynn Mathias. He is predeceased by his brother, Tom Hellyer.

Hellyer was born on Sept. 7, 1933, the son of Tom and Emmy Hellyer. He was a 1952 graduate of Lake Forest Academy and a1957 graduate of Northwestern University. Hellyer and Jay were married on Sept. 6, 1956.

Hellyer launched his career with family-owned Columbia Bedding Co., becoming president and owner in 1968. He followed in his grandfather Zola Green’s footsteps as chairman of the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers in 1980. Zola Green was the second chairman of the International Sleep Products Association, and Hellyer also served as ISPA chairman.

In 1981, Hellyer sold Columbia Bedding, relocating to Door County, Wisconsin, to establish his real estate career. He earned the Wisconsin Realtor of the Year award and served as president of the Wisconsin Realtors Association, as well as Door County Realty. Hellyer also served on the McNeal Memorial and Door County Medical Center Boards.

Spending his summers in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, at his grandparents’ cabin on High Lake, Hellyer developed a passion for bird hunting and fishing, later joining the Angler’s Club of Chicago. The family cabin is still the meeting place for the Hellyer clan, the setting for decades of memories; Hellyer and Jay visited as recently as last September.

A celebration of Hellyer’s life will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Door County Medical Center.

Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Sister Bay is assisting the family. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of Hellyer may be shared with his family through his tribute page at

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