From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
Henry J. Helmers, Jr., 81, head of the Helmers Manufacturing Company and widely known industrialist and business man, died last night at Passavant Hospital, Chicago, after an illness of about two weeks. Relatives received word of his death during the night.
Mr. Helmers' illness began about two weeks ago, following his arrival in Chicago to attend a meeting of the National Furniture Mart. He had been accompanied to Chicago by a brother, Ed Helmers, and a nephew, William H. Helmers, both of Kansas City.
Upon being stricken he was removed from his hotel to the hospital and for the last several days little if any hope had been held out for his recovery. Tentative plans had been made that if his condition would permit he would be flown to his home here.
Mr. Helmers was born in Leavenworth November 6, 1867, the eldest son of Henry, Sr., and Pauline Helmers. The name of Helmers has been associated with Leavenworth since 1858.
In that year Henry Helmers, Sr., came to Leavenworth from Herman, Mo. He was of strong German ancestry. Engaging in the barber business he soon opened a barber supply company. From that small beginning there grew the Helmers Manufacturing Company. In later years the Helmers home was at 501 South Broadway. Mr. Helmers died in 1934 at the age of 91.
First born to Mr. and Mrs. Helmers was Henry J. Helmers, Jr. Upon reaching maturity he entered the manufacturing business established by his father and upon the retirement of his father about 40 years ago became managing head of the company and continued in that capacity until his death.
Associated with him were his brothers, Oscar Helmers, deceased; George J. Helmers, deceased; Will and Ed Helmers. All had entered the business as they completed their education.
The first Helmers store was established on the site of the old Fountain pool hall on Delaware Street with William Parmelee as a partner. Fire destroyed the business. Later Mr. Helmers, Sr., opened a furniture factory at Kansas State Prison where prisoners were hired under contract.
Later the large plant now occupied by the Goodjohn Sash and Door Company at Second and Santa Fe Streets was erected. The factory was closed about ten years ago. The company now engages solely in the wholesale selling of furniture. In his capacity as president Mr. Helmers made frequent trips to Kansas City to direct the affairs of the company.
Other than his business affair and his Broadway home, Mr. Helmers had many other interests. One was his deep devotion to Abdallah Shrine, of which he served as potentate in 1920. His interest in the organization was not only a local, but a national scale. He attended many imperial Council meetings and had a personal acquaintance with Shrine leaders throughout the country.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was another institution which was close to his heart. A charter member of the lodge here upon its organization in 1901 when the meeting place was the present Eagles hall, Mr. Helmers never was out of touch with the organization.
"Mr. Helmers was one of the local lodge's most devoted members," said Charles Olund this morning when told of his death. "He put his heart and soul into the work of the order. While never serving as exalted ruler he was for many years a trustee and held other executive positions. In the latter years of his life he made the lodge hall his place of rest and recreation. He will be greatly missed, both in a social way and as a guide and as a wise counsellor in the affairs of the lodge."
Henry Helmers also had a deep and abiding interest in the affairs of Cushing Memorial Hospital, where he was a large contributor to the building fund. His concern for the welfare of the institution was unchanging.
Another institution close to Mr. Helmers' heart was the Leavenworth Country Club, of which he served a term as president. Ten years ago when the club house was renovated he gave a set of furniture for one room.
As an active member of the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce he was an active booster for a new hotel for Leavenworth. In 1925 he headed a campaign for a new hotel and in 1947 was one of the largest contributors to the fund which was raised to buy The Times Building as a site for a new hostelry.
On September 28, 1892, Mr. Helmers and Miss Anna A. Hook, daughter of Enos and Elizabeth Hook, were married at the home of their parents, West Seventh and Spruce Streets.
The young couple established their home at 207 North Esplanade and resided there until they occupied the present home at 307 North Broadway, where they went to live 37 years ago. Mrs. Helmers died August 19, 1945. A son and only child died in infancy.
Other than his brothers, Will and Edward of Kansas City, Mr. Helmers is survived by two sisters, Miss Carrie Helmers, 501 South Broadway, and Mrs. C. E. Brown, 927 South Broadway. Miss Lucy Hook is a sister-in-law. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
The body will be received in Leavenworth tomorrow by the Sexton Chapel, where it will remain until Saturday morning when the casket will be removed to the family home at 9 o'clock.
Funeral services will be held>>>>>>>>>>>