Robert Joseph Helms
Robert Joseph Helms
Oct. 26, 1923 — March 31, 2011
PLYMOUTH — Robert Joseph Helms passed away March 31, 2011. He was born Oct. 26, 1923 in Plymouth, Ind. to Mary Frances and William Flint Helms.
He is survived by his wife, Glenys (Polly) Helms; and two sisters, Eileen Helms of Plymouth, and Marceline (Rol) Morken of Winfield, Ill. Other survivors include children, Sue (Steve) Noonan of South Bend, Sally (PJ Lavelle) Helms of Carmel, and Scott (Nancy) Helms of South Bend; grandchildren: Alexa (Robert) Calabro of San Francisco, Christopher Noonan of Chicago, Ashley (Andrew) Nemeth of South Bend, Andrew Helms of South Bend; and one great-grandson, Declan Nemeth. A brother, Arthur, of Cincinnati, passed away in 2002.
Bob was the son of William Flint and Mary Frances Helms of Plymouth.
He attended grade school at St. Michael in Plymouth, and graduated from Lincoln High School in Plymouth. During his youth he was an altar boy at St. Michael’s Church, and served for the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen when he would visit Plymouth.
After high school, he enrolled at Indiana University, Bloomington. During his sophomore year during World War II, he enlisted into the Army. At Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis he was assigned to the ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program) and was transferred to Camp Wolters, Texas for basic training. Following basic training, he was relocated to Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti. This is where he met Glenys (Polly) Heininger, his wife to be.
Several months later he was transferred to Michigan State University in Lansing for more specialized training. After several months in Lansing, the ASTP program was terminated, and his group was assigned to the 76th Infantry Division then stationed at Camp McCoy, Wis., where he was assigned to C Company, 304th Infantry Regiment, light machine gun squad. His Regiment would eventually become a part of General Patton’s Third Army during the Battle of the Bulge where he spent 100 days on the front line.
During this time he received three Bronze Star Medals. One medal was awarded for his discovery and removal of explosives that were attached to the underside of a bridge in Zeitz, Germany. This bridge was instrumental for American transport. Other than a shrapnel wound, his family would be forever grateful that he returned home safely.
After the war ended, he was Honorably Discharged, and returned to civilian life to finish his education with an MBA at Indiana University and was a member of the ATO Fraternity. In June of 1946 he was married to Glenys Heininger in Ann Arbor, Mich. He and his new bride settled in South Bend, Ind. where they raised three children. Bob worked for Ball Band (Uniroyal) in Mishawaka, Ind. and retired after 37 years of employment. He also taught marketing part time at Indiana University of South Bend.
For the past 25 years, he and his wife spent their winters in Naples, Fla. He was an avid fan of I.U. and Notre Dame football and basketball, and was a member of Saint Matthews Cathedral in South Bend.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 9, 2011 in the Cathedral of St. Matthew, 1701 Miami, South Bend. The Rev. Monsignor Michael Heintz will officiate.
Military services and burial will follow at Southlawn Cemetery, South Bend. The family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday in the Palmer Funeral Home-Guisinger Chapel, 3718 S. Michigan St., South Bend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box #4777, New York, N.Y., 10163. Online condolences may be sent to www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.