Lt. Col. James "Jim" Helmer
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Lt. Col. James "Jim" Cooley Helmer died in Wilmington, North Carolina on June 1, 2020. Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on July 3, 1945 to Horton James Helmer and Alice Ruth Helmer, Jim grew up in South Bend, Indiana and Stamford, Connecticut. He was Student Body President of the first graduating class of Rippowam High School. A graduate of Colby College, Jim studied Art History, played rugby and was President of Tau Delta Phi. He served in the United States Air Force honorably retiring in 1994. Exposure to Agent Orange during one of his three tours in Vietnam is attributed to his early death. Following the end of his active duty in Vietnam, Jim traveled throughout southeast Asia, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey before working for a year in Germany and the Netherlands. Traveling was one of his foremost passions. Jim married the beautiful Nancy Lee Davis, on August 4th, 1979 in Boulder. Together, they gardened, cooked, cheered for the Colorado Buffaloes and raised their two children, Narelle and Barrett until Nancy passed away in 2013.
Jim enjoyed his Colorado lifestyle to the fullest by rafting, hiking, skiing and biking especially participating in Ride The Rockies. In his retirement years, Jim worked as a volunteer Park Ranger for the City of Boulder. He traveled to Asia, South America, Europe, The Galapagos, Africa and the US. He loved visiting his three grandchildren, Spencer, Julian and Vivienne Woods on the Carolina Shore. He loved visiting his son, Barrett, of Austin, Texas.
Jim was known for his love of books, becoming a Master Gardener and his humor. He had many lifelong friends his children wish to thank. Although he could be extremely frugal and a tad cantankerous, he loved peacefully watching the sunset over the Flatirons of Boulder nightly with a well-aged single malt scotch. He is rumored to have coined the phrase, "When the sun sets over the pines, it's time for wine." A statement which should be carried on with fondness from Jim.
In addition to his two children, three grandchildren and Son-In-Law, Dr. Jonathan Woods of Wilmington, NC, he is survived by his "Irish Twin" brother, David, of Keystone, CO, brother Thom (Diane) of Rapid City, SD and John (Jill) of Highlands, NC. Jim was a proud uncle to seven nieces and two nephews.
In lieu of flowers, Barrett and Narelle request that donations be made in his name to the Colorado Wildlife Federation at http://coloradowildlife.org
A memorial service in Colorado will be scheduled for a calmer time hopefully in the Fall when the changing of the leaves is a backdrop for scattering his remains.