JAMES FREDERICK HELMER, 89, of Fort Wayne, passed away Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. Born Sept. 7, 1933, he was the son of the late Charles and Mary Helmer. Jim grew up in Avilla, Ind., and graduated from Avilla High School. After graduation, he entered the United States Air Force where he served as an airport control operator in Alaska. Upon completing his military service, he worked for International Harvester (later Navistar) until his retirement in 1996. Jim’s family was so important to him, beginning with Nancy, his loving wife of 65 years whom he adored. Together they enjoyed their large family, especially at holidays, parties, and on family trips. As a proud dad, grandpa, and great- grandpa, Jim was an incredible man with a warm heart, a gentle soul, and a quiet, steady presence that could be relied on no matter the situation. He loved sports, especially the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Bears, and Notre Dame football, attending many games over the decades of his life. His stories of his time in the Air Force in Alaska were legendary and often told, with the winter temperatures getting colder with each retelling. Growing up on a farm, Jim carried his appreciation of the earth throughout his life, as seen in his love of the outdoors, yard work, and even shoveling snow well into his eighties. Jim is survived by sons, Bob (Linda) Helmer of Berea, Ohio, and Dan (Miranda) Helmer of Pleasanton, Calif.; daughters, Katy (Gene) Wolf of Fishers, Ind., Amy (Tony) Bowman of Fort Wayne and Ann (Greg) Dent of Fort Wayne; 14 grandchildren, Stephen, Ryan, Alex, Meghan, Brianna, Jessica, Dylan, Sean, Maddie Rose, Clare, Jack, Abbie, Tyler, and Aidan; and seven great- grandchildren, Karson, Elias, Rainn, Asher, Indigo, Beckham and Greyson. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy; brothers, Dale, Virgil and Philip; and sisters, Geraldine (Meyers), LaRoma (Slater), Rita (Pera), Joan (Campbell), and Patricia (Helmkamp). Mass of Christian Burial is 10:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, at St. Jude Catholic Church, 2130 Pemberton Drive, Fort Wayne, with calling one hour prior. Visitation also from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, at Divine Mercy Funeral Home, 3500 Lake Ave., Fort Wayne. Burial will be at the Catholic Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. To sign the online guestbook, visit www.divinemercyfuneralhome.com
Published by Fort Wayne Newspapers on Sep. 23, 2022.
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