Emma Mae Crotinger Helmle, 88, of Aurora, Colorado, formerly of Johnson, Kansas, passed away on November 3, 2011, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She has been a resident of the Cherry Creek Retirement Village in Aurora for the last two years.
Emma was born in McCracken, Kansas, on June 2, 1923, to James and Milla Crotinger, the fourth of their nine children, all of whom preceded her in death. She grew up on a farm near Syracuse, Kansas, after the family moved there from McCracken, just as the Dust Bowl years really got started. She shared many happy memories from these years with her brothers and sisters, even though it was a very difficult time for them.
Emma graduated with a degree in mathematics education from the University of Denver and taught elementary school for a year in Hayden, Colorado. She married Charles Helmle on June 7, 1946, after he returned from World War II where he served in the Navy.
Emma worked as a farmer, keeping books, delivering meals to the farm, and driving tractors and trucks (where she could barely see over the steering wheel). Most of all, she was a homemaker in Johnson, where she made sure everyone got to school on time and got all their homework done.
Emma was active in the community, serving on the school board when the current high school was designed and built. She was also a Sunday school teacher at the United Methodist Church and often contributed time to serve dinners for the Rotary Club and participate in the church bazaar and other events.
She often reminded her family of the Energizer Bunny. Among the things Emma really loved, music and kids topped the list. Once in a while she played the viola at church services, but she really enjoyed playing the piano and organ at home, always playing by ear. She could always get a shy child to laugh and talk to her well into her later years. She would regularly walk up to total strangers, start talking, and make a new friend. Her family will miss her cheerfulness, her toughness, and her spirit in the face of difficulties.
Sharon and Nathan have worked very hard to make Emma’s last two years in Aurora easier and more enjoyable.
Charles and Emma had five children, nine grandchildren, and three great grandchildren, scattered all across the country. She is survived by Charles, her husband of 65 years, and their children: Leland Helmle and Catherine Do of San Jose, California,, Vietta Helmle and Anne Phoenix of Santa Clara, California, Chris Helmle of Boston, Massachusetts, and Sharon Sorrell and husband Nathan of Aurora, Colorado.
She was preceded in death by their son, Kevin Helmle.
Funeral service will be held at 10:00 A.M. CST on Friday, November 11, 2011, at the Johnson United Methodist Church in Johnson, Kansas with Reverend Don Hasty officiating. Burial will be at Shockey Cemetery in Grant County following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial contributions be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in care of Garnand Funeral Home, PO Box 715, Johnson, KS 67855.