Dr. Hellman died Dec. 29, 2011, in San Marcos at the age of 90. He was born in Dollar Bay, MI, on Nov. 29, 1921. He grew up in Lansing, MI, where he won the Michigan state high school swimming championship in 1939. He served five years as a naval aviator in the Pacific theater during World War II. After the war, he remained active as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve and he became an air photo interpretation officer instructing officers in the use of aerial photography and other space imagery until his retirement from the Reserves in 1978.
After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Hellman entered Michigan State University on the GI Bill. He earned his B.A. in Geography at Michigan State in 1949 and his M.A. in Geography in 1950. He then began work on his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Michigan, where he completed his doctorate in 1962. From 1956 to 1966, Hellman served as Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. His teaching responsibilities included cartography, aerial photo interpretation, planning, world, and regional geography.
In 1966, Hellman joined the faculty at Texas State University as Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography. As Department Chair, Hellman laid down the foundations which led to the Department’s current status as one of the country’s premier departments of geography. He stepped down as Chair in 1977 and remained on the geography faculty until his retirement in 1984.
In retirement, Dr. Hellman served as Executive Vice President for Research and Marketing for Electrowave Systems of San Antonio, as President of the Remote Sensing and Mapping Laboratory of Seguin, and as a Senior Consultant for Carto-Remote Sensing Consultants in San Marcos.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Wounded Warrior Project (see http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ ).
Donations in Hellman's memory to the Al Hellman Geography scholarship, in the Texas State Geography Department (account number is 6-7757) can be made online at https://tim.txstate.edu/uaexternalonlinegiving/Home.aspx.