Joseph Helfrich Jr., orthodontist in Delco

Joseph A. Helfrich Jr.
Joseph A. Helfrich Jr.
Posted: January 31, 2013

Joseph Anthony Helfrich Jr., 80, of West Chester, an orthodontist who operated offices in Broomall and Media for many years, died Saturday, Jan. 26, of cancer at his home.

In addition to operating his offices, he founded Oasis, a drug and alcohol awareness organization that focused on children in Delaware County, in the late 1970s.

"A patient died in a car accident, and he began speaking in schools about drug and alcohol awareness," said his son, Joe Helfrich 3d.

Dr. Helfrich was born Sept. 17, 1932, in Midland, Pa., son of Joseph Helfrich, a physician, and Regina Helfrich.

He earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1950. He later graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.

He studied orthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Helfrich served as a lieutenant in the Navy, treating dental patients at the Navy Base.

He married Esther Helfrich in 1963. The couple had three children. She died in 2011.

In the late 1950s, he opened an orthodontics office on West Chester Pike in Broomall. He later established an office in Media.

In the 1980s, he taught orthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania for several years, his son said.

Devoted to helping young people, Dr. Helfrich was active in DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Rotary, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He was a past president of the Main Line Ski Club.

In addition to skiing, Dr. Helfrich enjoyed tennis, sailing, and windsurfing, a sport he took up in his 60s. He often went windsurfing at the Jersey Shore and at his second home in Palm Beach, Fla., his son said.

In addition to his son, Dr. Helfrich is survived by daughters Catherine Amsterdam and Cynthia Connors, six grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 1, at St. Francis-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, 689 Sugartown Rd., Malvern.

Donations in his name may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, Box 758517, Topeka, Kan. 66675.

Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or

comments powered by Disqus