George Martin Helfer had four true loves in his life: God, his adored wife of 63 years Rosemarie as well as his entire family, being a firefighter, and ping pong.
After high school, George spent two years active duty in the U.S. Army and an additional three years in the Army reserve before being honorably discharged and joining the Denver Fire Department. He described his career with Denver Fire as a firefighter and technician as “the best job that never seemed like a job” he ever had, and he loved every minute of it. He was a decorated hero for saving lives, a beloved coworker, and served his community with dignity and integrity. In his downtime, he proudly became one of the top ping pong players in competitions within the department. After his retirement, he continued his love of ping pong into his 80s and was honored as a gold medal winner one year in the Colorado Senior Olympic Games in doubles competition.
George was a lifelong Catholic and active in various parishes and volunteered within the Catholic Parochial School System and as a Knights of Columbus member. He also worked numerous side jobs to earn extra money as he and Rosemarie struggled (successfully!) to put all seven of their children through 12 years of Catholic school education. Along the way, George was an avid supporter of all of his children’s and grandchildren’s extracurricular activities, attending many sporting, theatrical, and musical events over six decades. A week prior to his death, though declining health confined him to the house, he adamantly wanted to attend a granddaughter’s Christmas concert nearly three hours from his home but was just too weak. We were, however, thrilled that he accomplished the goal he set when he was diagnosed with his final job-related cancer—to ensure he lived long enough to see his two newest great-grandchildren arrive safely into this world. Felicity Theresa and Keelan George both arrived before he passed.
George will be remembered for his laughter, his kindness, his fierce love of and faith in God, his wife and family, and his steadfast friendship and concern for others right to the end. He will also be remembered as a role model for being a man of his word, as well as standing up for what is moral and right, lessons that he gently passed on to everyone around him. In his honor, he asked that he be remembered by passing on a word of encouragement, performing a random act of kindness, or simply bringing a smile of love in God’s name into a world so in need of peace.