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William G. ‘Billy’ Helfrich Jr., founder of Headquarters Co. and avid sports fan, dies

William G. “Billy” Helfrich Jr., a consummate career salesman who founded the Headquarters Co. and was an avid sports fan, died of heart failure Feb. 16 at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson. The former Roland Park resident was 83.

“Bill was smart, outgoing and he knew what he was talking about,” said a brother, George V. Helfrich Jr., of Bald Head Island, North Carolina.

“He was a very easy person to be easy with. That’s what stands out to me about Billy,” he said. “He made friends easily and he kept up with them and that was characteristic of his sales work.”

Born in Baltimore, William Goldsborough Helfrich Jr. — known as Bill or Billy to family and friends — was the son of Dr. William G. Helfrich, an internist and family physician, and his wife, Jane deC. Keating Helfrich, a homemaker.

A descendant of colonial settlers in Maryland, Mr. Helfrich was raised in the 5000 block of Roland Avenue, and attended the Calvert School.

He was a 1959 graduate of Gilman School and earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963 from the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 1965, he married Frances “Franky” Mellier Sweeny, a Bryn Mawr School and Skidmore College graduate.

During the 1960s, he briefly served as a cook in the Air Force Reserve.

He began his sales career as a representative for Dymo Label Makers and in the late 1960s, went to work for the Xerox Corp. where he held management positions in Rochester, New York; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Chicago; and Kansas City, Kansas.

“He believed that sales was more about the technique than the product and was confident he could sell almost anything, but quickly settled in with the Xerox Corp.,” said his daughter, Marion “Marny” Daly Helfrich, of Columbia.

In 1982, Mr. Helfrich returned to Baltimore with his family and established the Headquarters Co. on Pratt Street in downtown Baltimore. The company provided executive suites, office space and services to a wide range of clients, his daughter said.

Mr. Helfrich retired in the early 2000s.

A die-hard Baltimore sports fan, his love for the Orioles went back to the days when they played at Memorial Stadium and later when they moved to Camden Yards. He “passed his love of Baltimore baseball on to his children and granddaughter,” Ms. Helfrich said.

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He had an equally fervent relationship with the old Baltimore Colts, and after they left town in the middle of a snowstorm in 1984, he transferred his loyalty and enthusiasm to the Ravens when they came to town in 1996.

As a youth, he had played in the Roland Park Little League, where later as an adult, he was a coach.

“Billy really enjoyed following sports,” his brother said.

Mr. Helfrich, who lived in his Roland Park boyhood home until moving to the Towson retirement community, enjoyed cooking and especially outdoor grilling.

“He could grill anything,” Ms. Helfrich said, adding her family had given him the title of “Grillmeister” for his impressive skills.

At Blakehurst, he served as a member of the retirement community’s dining committee.

He enjoyed playing bridge, doing crossword puzzles and vacationing at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Mr. Helfrich was a member of the L’Hirondelle Club in Ruxton.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in the chapel of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer at 5603 N. Charles St.

In addition to his wife, who had worked in information services at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, his daughter and brother, Mr. Helfrich is survived by another brother, John S. Helfrich of Richmond, Virginia; two sisters, Deborah Coleman of Lexington, Kentucky, and Sarah Jane Stuart of Bozeman, Montana; and a granddaughter, Grace Mellier LiRong, of Columbia.

His son, William G. Helfrich III, who worked in Baltimore restaurant operations and management, died in 2014.