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House Speaker Biographies


W. Stuart Helm

Born: April 8, 1908, Cowansville, Armstrong County, PA.  Died:  March 2, 1986, Columbus, Franklin County, OH.  Member of the House: Armstrong County, 1941-1964.  Affiliation: Republican.

William Stuart Helm graduated from Kittanning High School and attended both the Pennsylvania State College (now the Pennsylvania State University) and Duquesne University.  Helm was elected to the Kittaning Borough School Board in 1937 and served 18 years.  He worked for the Sun Oil Company.  W. Stuart Helm married the former Geraldine Rearick and was the father of 2 daughters.  In November 1940, Helm was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to serve Armstrong County for the 1941-1942 session.  He was re-elected for 11 more successive terms.

Helm was the prime sponsor of many pieces of legislation that impacted the Public School Code.  In 1943 he was the prime sponsor of a bill, which became Act 127 of 1943, which made wartime emergency provisions for substitute teachers.  He was later the prime sponsor of legislation that provided funding for half-day school sessions and required the issuance of high school certificates, Act 184 of 1953. 

In 1956 Helm was elected as the 126th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 1957-1958 session.  Helm served as the first chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee from 1959-1962.  Helm was elected Speaker again for the 1963-1964 session.

As Speaker, Helm oversaw the passage of legislation, Act 300 of 1957, that prescribed penalties for giving false information to telephone operators.  In the same session, Helm oversaw legislation that allowed World War II veterans an extension for veteran compensation applications, which became Act 315.

Helm was the president of the National Legislative Conference in 1963.  When he left the House in 1964, Helm served as special assistant to Governor William W. Scranton from January 1, 1965 to June 23, 1965.  On June 23, 1965, Stuart Helm was sworn in as Secretary of the Commonwealth.  He served in this position until 1967.  Helm retired from public service in 1972.

W. Stuart Helm died on March 2, 1986 in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.  He is interred at Lawn Haven Burial Estates in Worthington, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

Historical Member Biography

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