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Dorothy G. (Rankin) Helscher was born May 10, 1919 in Garner, IA, the daughter of Arthur E. And Mabel (Brinton) Rankin. She graduated from Hampton High School and attended Iowa State University for two years. On January 14, 1940 she was united in marriage to John W. "Bill" Helscher at her home in Hampton. Dorothy taught piano lessons and was the organist at the United Methodist Church for 37 years. In 1984 she graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies. She was a member of the United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women, D.A.R., P.E.O. Chapter J, TTT Chapter Y, Fortnightly, and was the Rotary Person of the Year. Dorothy enjoyed music of all kinds, playing bridge, traveling and being with her grandchildren. Dorothy and Bill hosted many foreign students and were foster parents.
Survivors include three children of Washington, and ten granddaugthers: Daughter Mary (Yaro) Chmelar parents of Ann Chmelar, Nancy Bird, Kerry Barrow, Catherine Chmelar, Son Dr. John (Mary Lynn Mathiason) Helscher parents of Jennifer Walsh, Wendy Paiva, Heather Runge, son Robert (Peggy) Helscher, parents of Sarai Logue, Kristen Anderson and Mary Reihner, 24 great grandchildren, one step great granddaughter and a sister, Alice Butler of St. Clair, MI.
Preceding Dorothy in death were her parents and her husband Bill Helscher on May 4, 2001.
Mary, Sorry to hear of your mom's passing.She was a great lady and will be missed by many. Susan
Susan Owen Kirk Feb 2 2016 12:00 AM
Aunt Dorothy was always full of love and happiness with a smile which would light up a room.My fondest memory of Aunt Dorothy was one time when I was very young and was visiting Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Bill.I had to be quiet around the house and was very bored.Aunt Dorothy knew I was a big baseball fan (what young kid wasn't) and loaned me a transistor radio with a small ear piece.Being from Michigan, I could only hear the Tiger Games, but from Washington Iowa, I could tune in to hear the St. Louis Cardinals AND the Minnesota Twins...and if the wind was in the right direction sometimes the K.C. Royals.Anyway, after seeing the joy that the radio gave me, she let me keep it.It has been nearly 50 years, and that radio still proudly sits on my shelf to this day.I love you Aunt Dorothy and will miss you dearly.....George Butler
George Butler Jan 24 2016 12:00 AM
Sure will miss coming out to Iowa to see Aunt Dorothy.She was always such a pleasure to be with.I shall remember our discussions of our shared interest in Book TV when it first was airing.We each found it and enjoyed the book discussions.I always felt a special kinship with her, although I'll bet she made everyone feel that way.She was one who pretended to love me to play piano for her when I would visit...making her probably the ONLY person who did. : ) As life got busy, I gave less time to nurturing my relationship with her, but she will forever be a piece of my heart.Rest in peace, gentle and good aunt. Love, Lorraine
Lorraine & Craig Pillow Jan 21 2016 12:00 AM
Just got notice of Dorothy's passing from our Mt Vernon office.She and Bill were one of my favorite clients.. I still have their picture on my office wall from the Iowa State Fair recognition when I helped them get their Century Farm plaque for their farm in Franklin Co. as their farm manager Dorothy's father , Art Rankin, was my Mothers superintendent at Garner when she graduated in 1921 and then she later taught for him at Hampton.Anyway she and Dorothy and sister Alice Butler became good friends, which was special to me. All three were great ladies and very specialto their families, their friends and their communities.Many great memories. Thanks Jim Frevert
Jim Frevert Jan 19 2016 12:00 AM
My thoughts are with the Helscher family during this time of grieving. Please know that you are not alone in remembering a truly wonderful woman who meant so much to so many.You have my sincere sympathy. ~Kathy Sobaski Patterson Cedar Rapids, IA
Kathy Sobaski Patterson Jan 19 2016 12:00 AM
Dear Helscher Family, My sincere sympathy. I got to meet Dorothy when I worked with Bob. I told Bob once that she was the "all american grandmother". She always had a smile and was kind and caring. I am thinking of you all! Jamie Moeller
Jamie Moeller Jan 18 2016 12:00 AM
I have known Dorothy for over 35 years and she was a treasure.She combined grace, kindness and compassion to all people she met.She will be truly missed! Jim Rebhuhn
Jim Rebhuhn Jan 18 2016 12:00 AM
I wanted to express to the family my deep sympathy in the loss of your mother. She was my piano teacher many, many years ago.She taught me lots of skills that I still use.She taught me how to be a good listener while accompanying vocalists. She also taughtme how to lead when playing for a church congregation.I play for two different churches in the Iowa City area and like your mom enjoy making music.I wish that I could have told her that while she was still alive.Mrs. Helscher was a wonderful teacher.
Linda Miller Alberhasky Jan 18 2016 12:00 AM
Dear Helschers, I have fond memories of your Mother and your Father.My Father had the utmost respect for both of them. Your Mother was always so loving and caring whenever I was around her. May the memories of Love be in your Hearts. We both send our Love to Y'all.
Katherine Ballensky and MaryLou Ballensky Jan 18 2016 12:00 AM