Robert Howard Helmerick passed away on May 25, 2014 at home after a courageous and determined battle with cancer. He was born on February 25, 1926 in Greybull, Wyoming. He was proud to serve in the army in Europe during World War II. His trip to Washington D.C. in 2009 with Honor Flight to visit the World War II Memorial was a highlight of his life. Upon his discharge from the Army he received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wyoming. He briefly taught school in Saratoga, WY and worked for the Soil Conversation Service before returning to the University of Wyoming to earn his master's degree in 1954 and his doctorate in 1958 from the University of Nebraska. Bob's entire career was dedicated to sugar beet breeding and was highly respected by his colleagues in the industry. He cooperated worldwide with other breeders on improving the genetics of sugar beets.
In the fall of 1951, he met his future wife while working in Douglas, WY. He married Ruth Joan Rochford on June, 26, 1954 in Sheridan, WY. Together they raised five children while living in Lincoln, NE, Rocky Ford, CO, Sheridan, WY and Longmont, CO. They enjoyed collecting arrowheads, camping, and fishing, hiking, gardening, visiting their children, babysitting grandchildren and traveling. Their travels included several memorable trips to Europe. Bob's heart was broken when Joan passed away on June 17, 2004 just 9 days away from their 50th wedding anniversary.
Six years after losing Joan, Bob reconnected with Phyllis Winzenreid, a good friend from his time in Saratoga, WY. They re-established their friendship and enjoyed traveling, spending the cold winters in Mesa, AZ and split the beautiful summers between Longmont, Rawlins, WY and treasured time at Phyllis' cabin in Ryans Park, WY. They often hosted family reunions. They were fortunate to spend four years enjoying life together.
Bob is survived by his companion, Phyllis Winzenried; his sister, Lois (Dick) Sherman of Millani Town, HI; 2 sons, Rob (Laura) Helmerick currently living in South Africa; Jim (Michelle) Helmerick of Medical Lake, WA; 3 daughters, Jean (Mike) Gorzalka of Sheridan, WY; Ruth (Tom) Heald of Casper, WY; Mary Helmerick of Ft. Lupton, CO; 9 grandchildren, Amy and Brent Gorzalka, Elena, Kathryn and Bob Helmerick, Jon and Erin Heald, Zane Helmerick, Gabby Staley, and his faithful cat Chewbacca. He was preceded in death by his grandson Keegan Garlock in 2010.
A memorial service will be held on June 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm at Westview Presbyterian Church in Longmont, CO. Interment will take place on June 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm at Sheridan Municipal Cemetery in Sheridan, WY. Visit www.ahlbergfuneralchapel.com to share condolences.
This obituary was originally published in The Sheridan Press (Sheridan, WY).