Grant Alan Helmer was born to Sam and Mary Helmer on September 26, 1938 in Tampa KS. He grew
up with his older brother Vern and Sister Lora. His brother Jimmy and Sisters Virgina and Leanne came later as he was growing up. He was born and raised on a farm and expected to help with the chores. He would talk of getting up early everyday of the week to milk the cows. He also told of working in the fields and crossing the river. He didn't like that because he never learned to swim and he was afraid of drowning.
Grant was confirmed at the Lutheran Church at the age of 12.
He Graduated from Eldorado High School in 1956. The day he turned 18 he applied for jobs everywhere he could and was hired for a new company called Phillips oil, he worked at Matfield Green station for them. Today we call these places Gas stations. It was 1957 when his parents decided to become owners of another new company, The K-T Oil Corporation at Haverhill Corner. Grant was the only one who knew anything about this type of new business so he quit his job to help Sam and Mary get it going. Grant would work during the day and Sam would bring Jimmy who was 14 at that time to work in the evenings.
In 1958 Grant was attending a friends wedding when he met the Love of his life, Jodene Dawson.
She said he was her Elvis and grant said she was his Sandra Dee. At this time in their lives Jo was attending nursing school at Wesley Hospital in Wichita. They soon planned their 1st date but jo would have to attend her classes that day before the date but a problem arose. Jo was so sick she had lost her voice so her house mother sent her to get a shot and then she was to spend the rest of the day in bed. Jo couldn’t miss her 1st date with Grant so she snuck out to meet him. They went to the Crest Theater but when she came back to her dorm the house mother and superintendent was waiting for her. Jo told them this was a very special guy and a very important date and she just couldn’t miss it! Well we all know what happened next. The Wedding was August 14, 1960 at Christ Lutheran Church in Augusta KS. That New Years Eve was one to remember! Mike was born on September 18, 1961. While Mike was still quite small the 3 of them moved to Emporia where Grant went to Emporia State University for 2 years and at night worked for the Emporia service area.
Grant loved to Play his guitar and Sing so he decided to put an ad in the paper for auditions to start a band called The Western-Swingin Ayers. It wasn't long until Jo had learned to play bass and joined the band. They often brought mike along and he would play drums. They played for parties and dances all around Kansas for several years every Saturday night and some Wednesdays. The money they made paid for groceries and gas.
When the time had come they moved back to Augusta and Grant got a job at Boeing. He worked there until he was laid off. He then decided he would like to learn about radio communications so He attended Elkins Electronic Institute in Texas for 6 Months. He would go to his classes, sleep in his car, clean up at the airport and go back home on weekends when he could. Once he graduated he found employment at KBTO in El Dorado. He did the morning western show. Mike recalls going with grant to the police station to get the report from the previous day so grant could report what was happening all around town. It was also his job to do the sports cast and one time Ernest Tubb was coming to perform in El Dorado and grant sang with him. Grant would always have a big smile when he recalled the girls asking for his autograph after the show.
Mike was around 10 years old when Grant and Jo asked him how he felt about welcoming Gary and Larry Gaylord to come live with them. Their family of three quickly went from 3 to 5 and the boys lived there through jr high and high school.
Grant worked at several different aircraft distribution parts companies through the years. He was Vice President of Sales at Wichita Aircraft until they closed in 1984 and grant was there till the end helping them. Meanwhile Jo and Mike had started selling connectors out of the basement of their home in Derby KS and in 1986 was incorporated as Aircraft and Commercial Enterprises where Grant worked morning noon and night. He loved his job and enjoyed working the numbers. In his spare time he loved to travel with jo. They loved going to the horse shows and also going on trail rides with family and friends. They would take the Pontoon out and spend lots of time pulling the kids around on tubes. He was on a bowling team loved to watch and root for his favorite teams Chiefs, Royals and WSU. Many days he would be on his tractor or painting the fence at the farm. When we had snow he would hook a rope to the 4 wheeler or tractor and pull the kids on a sled and they loved it. One of his favorite things to do was sing and play his guitar. He loved God, Jo, family and friends and always left an impression on people wherever he went. He will be missed and remembered by all who knew and loved him.