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The University of Wisconsin Law School is saddened by the death of Emeritus Dean Orrin L. Helstad, who died at age 87 at HospiceCare in Madison on December 11, 2009.

A native of the Norwegian community of Blair, Wisconsin, Helstad graduated in the UW Law School’s Class of 1950. During the next decade, Helstad distinguished himself as an attorney and joined with colleague Marygold Melli to produce a new Wisconsin Criminal Code, the first state code codified in the U.S. The two were recognized for superior work on the Code, which provided much of the conceptual basis for, as well as specific provisions in, the Model Penal Code.

Helstad then went on to author the State Administrative Code and the Wisconsin version of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Helstad was hired to join the UW Law School faculty in 1961, also serving as Dean of the Law School and Director of the General Practice Course (now the Lawyering Skills Course). He retired from academia in 1985, going on to an active life in the community in multiple capacities.

Colleagues remember him as a kind, fair, encouraging, and unselfish individual with an insightful intellect and a lively sense of humor.

A private service for immediate family was held at Cress Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 23, 2010, at 11 a.m. at First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison.

Further information and a full obituary from the Wisconsin State Journal can be found here.

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