Dr. Morvia Thomas Helmer, 94, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.
Tom was born on June 14, 1925, to Walter and Bertha Helmer in Prospect, New York, and was the youngest of seven children. He graduated from Holland Patent Central School in 1943. After graduating, Tom volunteered for the Ski Troops and entered the service in September of 1943. He proudly served with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy during World War II. At the war’s end, Tom came home and, on a soccer scholarship, attended Colgate University in the pre-dental program. Tom then attended dental school at Columbia University, graduating in 1952. Upon his graduation, he started a dental practice in Utica, New York. As fate would have it, his office space was behind schedule and when an opportunity arose to be a ship dentist on the Kungsholm Cruise Line, he eagerly accepted. There, he met his true love, the most beautiful passenger, Ginny Johnson. They were married in Kalispell. It was a union of love, respect and loads of fun. They made their first home in Utica and later in Rochester, New York. Tom practiced dentistry for eight years.
In 1959, Tom was accepted to the University of Illinois Orthodontic program and graduated in 1961. He and Ginny moved to Billings and he opened his orthodontics practice, specializing in adolescent orthodontics. Tom had an infectious personality, brimming over with enthusiasm and good humor. His young patients adored him and he saved every letter, picture and gift that they gave him. Some of his patients have kept in touch with him throughout the years. All of his patients enriched his life and he remembered them all fondly.
He started the 9th District dental golf league. Wednesday afternoon golf was beloved by the group for 20 years. Golf was a great passion of Tom’s and the friendships, camaraderie and antics on the course were a great joy for him.
More than golf, though, Tom’s greatest passion was the love and devotion he had for his family. Many years were spent at Flathead Lake. Papa’s s’more smiles, red ripe raspberries he picked every day and rousing games of Pitch are some of the wonderful memories his family will never forget. Fishing and sharing Thanksgiving dinners with special friends were traditions. He enjoyed making garden beds overflow with flowers. He read his bible every day and, on Sundays, he and Ginny dressed in their best and went to church service.
To say Tom was patriotic is an understatement. Born on Flag Day, he loved flags. They were in his car and on his desk and a flag flew on his home every day. Red, white and blue were his favorite colors for golf bags and clothing. He loved his country and flew Her colors proudly.
Tom was a clubber. He had such fun times with the dear friends of their dinner club, bridge club and, in his later years, the Grump Old Men’s club. To quote Tom, “Those warm times shared from January to December, the mind still sees and the heart remembers.”
Tom was the ultimate gentleman. A man of honor who strove to live his life based on the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selflessness, integrity and courage. But, if you were to sum up Tom Helmer in one word, it would be “HAPPY.” You could not meet Tom and leave his presence without smiling and thinking he just made your day.
Tom is survived by Ginny, his wife of 65 years; his three children, Bruce (Carrie) Helmer, Jill (Allen) Blackford, Cindy (Tom) Agamenoni; as well as five loving grandchildren, Kelly (Andrew) Bruni, Mark (Sherine) Blackford and Jason Blackford, Erin and Shelbi Agamenoni; and one great-grandchild, Selah Blackford.
A funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at First Presbyterian Church, 2420 13th St. West.
Donations may be made to the 10th Mountain Foundation Scholarship for Descendants at 133 S. Van Gordon St., Suite 200, Lakewood ,CO 80228, or to a charity of one’s choice.
Make someone’s day – BE HAPPY!