Fred Godfrey Helmer was born Nov. 12, 1926, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He was the eighth of 11 children born of David and Anna (Eberhardt) Helmer. He later was given the nickname “Fritz.”
His family came to the United States when he was only 3 years old. He received his American citizenship when he was a young adult. He attended school in Marion and graduated from Marion High School with the class of 1944.
On Oct. 17, 1948, he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Edith L. Graham. Their marriage was blessed with four children. He owned and operated Helmer’s Service Station in Marion; prior to that he worked for Security Oil for over 25 years in Wichita and later in Liberal. He was always very polite and courteous to all of his customers.
Fritz was a member of Eastmoor United Methodist Church, was active in leadership with the Boy Scouts, and was a charter member of the Marion Lions Club. He enjoyed woodworking, bowling, fishing, and hunting. He also played musical instruments and liked to polka dance. He enjoyed making peppernuts and spoon candy.
In his later years he enjoyed teaching his grandchildren how to fish. His most important time was spent with his family. He was very gentle, generous and caring. He loved his wife, children, and he always lit up when his grandchildren were around.
After a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s, and a recent stroke, Fritz was released from his earthly chains. He passed away Dec. 5, 2016, at St. Luke Hospital in Marion, Kansas.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, August and wife Bertha, George and wives Leona and Carol, Dave and wife Eldeana, Albert and wife Rose, Harry and wife Joyce, John, Godfrey, Will and wife Juanita, and Ezra Helmer; a sister, Ann Boese and husband Ezra; sisters-in-law, Lois Shank and husband Earl, Eyleen Scheibe and husband Ed; and brother-in-law Fred Morgan.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Edith Helmer of Marion; his children, David Helmer of Marion, Debra Thomason and husband Harold of West Des Moines, Iowa, Deanna Gilbert and husband Royce of Alma, and Dan Helmer and wife Brenda of Norman, Oklahoma; 10 grandchildren, Anthony Gilbert, Austin Gilbert, Ashley Wurtz, T.J. Thomason, Heath Thomason, Danny Helmer, Joey Helmer, Josh Helmer, Darcy Pease, and Bruce Pease; and 20 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Pearl Helmer of Marion, Dorothy Helmer of Newton, Valera Morgan of Marion, and Esther Hendrix and her husband Ray of Holyoke, Colorado; and many nieces, nephews, and their families.
A funeral service was Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, at Eastmoor United Methodist Church with the Rev. Ross Baker presiding. Interment was in the Marion Cemetery.
Memorial funds have been established for Hilltop Manor, Eastmoor United Methodist Church, or the Alzheimer’s Association, in care of Zeiner Funeral Home, Marion. Online condolences may be left at www.zeinerfuneralhomes.com.