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Valpo Remembers

Johannes (John) Helms

Fall 2022

Johannes Helms, a long-time resident of Valparaiso, Indiana, died peacefully on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at the age of 80. He was born in 1931 in Jeypore, India, where his parents served as part of Germany’s Lutheran Breklum Mission from 1930–1950. He finished high school at Kodaikanal in southern India in 1949, came to the United States to attend Valparaiso University, from which he graduated in 1953. He became a U.S. citizen in 1962. John also held an M.A. and a Ph.D. in classical studies from the University of Michigan. He most recently resided in Hopkins, Minnesota.

John was a devoted classics professor who began his teaching career at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and later returned to Valpo where he taught from 1963 to 1995. During his tenure, he served as the director of the Overseas Study Center in Reutlingen, Germany (1992–1995), led mini-session courses to Greece and Italy, and served as foreign languages department chair and as the University Marshal.

John is preceded in death by his wife, Edith Dorothea Helms; his parents, Nicolaus and Anna Hedwig Helms; his brother Reimer Helms and sister Elsabe Ivens; and his son-in-law James Roth. He is survived by sisters Karin Gruenheit, Erika Helms, Gesa Helms, and brother Klaus Helms; his three daughters Elizabeth Roth ’81, Joann Scozzari ’84, and Heidi Boyle ’86; four grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana.

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