Robert E Helms, lifelong Jerome resident, was born September 10, 1944, and passed away April 15, 2022. He was born at St. Joseph Hospital, in Tacoma, Washington, the first child of Herbert Lee Helms and Dora Elaine Romero Helms. Dad was in the Army at Ft. Lewis and was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of Bob’s birth, while Mom stayed in Tacoma with her best friend, Judy Berglund. Bob was 14 months old when Dad came home after the war. Mom and Dad and little Bobby moved back to farm southeast of Jerome. In 1948, his sister, Linda, was born. In 1952, his brother, Richard was born.
Bob was a Boy Scout and in high school FFA, raised prize sugar beets and milked Holstein cows. Hobbies were taking and developing pictures, hunting, and learning magic tricks; hobbies he continued through life. He graduated from Jerome High School in May 1963. In August 1963 he joined the Army with basic training at Ft. Ord, California. Finishing this training he was sent to Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. His specialized training was Photo Lab Operator. He was sent to Korea where he took and developed pictures of peace talks at the DMZ line between North and South Korea. He was then sent back to Fort Hood, Texas, for more training. In 1965 he was on board a ship to Thailand, but in the middle of the Pacific the plans changed, and they arrived in South Vietnam. In early 1966 he developed a left retinal tear, was transferred to Japan for surgery. The first of June 1966 he was taken to Letterman Army Hospital, San Francisco for recovery, then home in mid-June with an honorable discharge. He has kept in touch with an Army buddy, Leonard, who lives in Louisiana.
Bob worked on the farm, and drove sugar beet truck for several farmers, but decided to also work in town at Idaho Electric and Mel’s Texaco. At home in 1971 he started repairing small engines with a specialty in motorcycles, creating H&A Cycle Sales and Service, soon renting a building behind Jerome Gas and Oil on South Lincoln. After a year, he rented a building on West Main. In 1980 he purchased the present shop. When motorcycles became more computerized, he turned to repairing lawn mowers and other small engines. He was in business for 50 years. He also continued his lifelong hobbies with taking and developing pictures, dressing as Santa Claus, and performing magic shows at events in the Magic Valley. Bob was (charter) member of Idaho Motorcycle Club, American Legion, (Life Member) Veterans of Foreign Wars, 40-year member of Randy Hayes Memorial Jerome County Search and Rescue, Jerome County Historical Society, Optimist Club, and Magic Valley Magicians.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one niece, and five cousins. Survivors include his sister, Linda; brother, Richard (Jan); two nephews, four nieces, eighteen cousins, many other family members and friends.
A Memorial graveside service will be held at Noon, Friday, May 13, 2022 at the Snake River Canyon Veterans Cemetery, Buhl, Idaho.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Bob’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.