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Helmer Oscar Ackerstrom
Birth: Nov. 25, 1898
Worcester County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Apr. 7, 1925
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

Born in Worcester, his parents were Swedish immigrants. After his father died in 1910, his mother and the two young children returned to Sweden, to the city of Karlstad, from where they originally had come.

In 1916, when Helmer aka Homer was 18, he returned alone to Worcester with the plan of getting an education and career to be able to support his mother and sister who lived in poverty in Sweden.

Starved to Death for Education
Philadelphia, June 17 (1925) - The memory of a young Swedish student, whose desire for an education resulted in his death from starvation, will be honored today at the commencement exercises at the University of Pennsylvania, when a post mortem degree was awarded in the name of Homer Oscar Ackerstrom.

Ackerstrom died at the university hospital two months ago. He was without funds and was working his way through college and also was sending money to his mother and sister in Sweden. He ate but little and finally, undernourished through what his fellow students say was self-imposed starvation, he contracted pneumonia and died.

His efforts to obtain an education so won the admiration of his classmates that they petitioned the university authorities to award a post mortem diploma and send it to Ackerstrom's mother. The request was granted and on the rolls of the graduates Wednesday the following will appear:

"Bachelor of science in economics, Homer Oscar Ackerstrom (post mortem".)

Published in the Baton Rouge State-Times June 17, 1925

An article from July 6, 1925, in the Spanish-language "Prensa" of San Antonio entitled "The charity which crystallizes in posthumous honors" was more critical, saying he died from hunger in the middle of abundance, and that the University, which had been indifferent to his desperate struggle, was now awarding him a post mortem diploma with pomp and circumstance, and his fellow students, aware of his long martyrdom, gave him a lavish funeral, questioning if this were a kind of reparation or a palliative for society's guilty conscience. And that his elderly mother, who had requested a simple burial, must have felt this as cruel hypocrisy.

first news item and additional information courtesy of 505 Firefly #46907585

thanks to ditdit #47012745 for discovering this, researching and creating the memorial 
Family links: 
  Charles Akerstrom (1869 - 1910)
  Hilda Teresia Werner Åkerström (1864 - 1936)
  Helmer Oscar Ackerstrom (1898 - 1925)
  Ruth K T Akerstrom (1901 - 1907)*
  Elvira Kristina Åkerström (1905 - 1985)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: space is unmarked.
Arlington Cemetery
Drexel Hill
Delaware County
Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Greenwood
Maintained by: BobB
Originally Created by: ditdit
Record added: Aug 12, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56977053
Helmer Oscar Ackerstrom
Added by: A.Firefly
Helmer Oscar Ackerstrom
Added by: Sam Shutter
Helmer Oscar Ackerstrom
Added by: Sam Shutter
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- AR
 Added: Jun. 30, 2013

- LozzyBee
 Added: Jun. 8, 2013

 Added: Jun. 2, 2013
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