M. Thomas Helmer


M. Thomas Helmer


Tom Helmer

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!

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0 thoughts on “M. Thomas Helmer”

  1. Ginny and family: I’m very sorry for your loss of Tom. As you know, he was wonderful man. As his patient, I actually looked forward to his “adjustments” so I could see him and walk out with a smile! He was the consummate professional and a joy to be around. He was seemingly always the same positive happy man regardless of where he was. He had a great life and obviously made your lives and those of many others greater. Tom Mellor

  2. Dr, Helmer gave a gift of smiling again to me and countless others. It was great for giving self esteem ! I remember the twinkle in his eye and big welcoming smile and greeting each visit! He invested in our lives and really loved his work! A great man indeed…
    Gail McGlothlin(one of three sisters all with braces)

  3. Dr. Robert W. "Bob" Wood

    When I moved to Billings in 1977 to continue dental practice here, Dr. Tom was so very welcoming. It felt as if we had been friends for years! It was always uplifting to see him at one of our dental society gatherings. He will be greatly missed.

  4. Jill – I am so sorry to learn of your Dad’s passing. He had to have been a wonderful man to raise a daughter as caring as you! You and your family have my deepest sympathies. Brenda (Johnstone) Nagel

  5. Christy Erickson

    Dear Ginny and Family, we are all so sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. He was a wonderful addition to our little lake community. A ray of sunshine seemed to follow him around….though he was the one emitting the warmth. He will be missed in Marco Bay and everywhere he spread his joy. May the Lord be with you during these difficult times as you put Tom to rest and go forward with his memories. Love to you all. Gary and Christy Erickson

  6. I never minded having braces because I always enjoyed my appointments with Dr. Helmer. He always greeted me with a, “Hey Suz, how you doing?” and always with a smile. I will miss seeing him. Suzanne (Repka) Braun

  7. It’s so sad to see the end of the Tom Helmer era. Growing up across the alley from the Helmer’s our family often saw Tom and Ginnie out on a walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes there would be long conversations standing on the street corner, enjoying the summer evening and being swept up in Tom’s enthusiasm for life and a good story. What a great guy!

    Ryan Toole

  8. Tom Helmer was the ultimate happy guy, and I can never remember him ever being without a smile.
    I feel very fortunate to have met him early in life, as the dreaded orthodontist. But his demeanor was such, that even though he was rearranging your face during a weekly visit, you left the office in a better mood then upon arrival, and usually chuckling at one of his jokes. I was lucky enough to see Tom every once in awhile when returning to Billings for visits over the last 40+ years, and he was such a treat to sit and talk to. Dr. Helmer will always be one of my favorite people of my parents generation. It was a real honor to have him remember me over the years.

  9. Ginny and family: I am so sorry to hear of your loss of Tom. He was always so cheerful and enthusiastic. Yes, he was my orthodontist too, and a great one! Whenever I came to worship service at First Presbyterian Church in Billings, I would visit with Tom and Ginny. A really wonderful couple.

  10. Dear Ginny, I will always remember Tom’s laughter, smile and sense of humor. He cared for others and made our world and my life better because he was a part of it. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I thank God I was privileged and blessed to have known Tom. He brought sunshine and joy to everyone. Peace, Jim Bell

  11. Doc was a wonderful gentleman, patriot, duffer. Enjoyed his story of his time in the service. Had I been a smarter young man I would have spent more time talking with this American hero. Blue sky’s, calm seas, Doc Helmer. You were a true gentleman.

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