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This memorial website was created to share memories of  Greta Elizabeth Hellmer, who was born on November 20, 1916 and passed away on October 7, 2010. 

October 19, 2010
October 19, 2010
Mom had a long and wonderful life, and she was loved by many people young and old, here and around the world.

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October 19, 2010
October 19, 2010
Mom had a long and wonderful life, and she was loved by many people young and old, here and around the world.
Recent stories

Ryan Hemphill's Memories

November 16, 2010

Today I was at my Grandmother’s house and I heard her phone ring.  I couldn’t help but laugh because I thought about how she has always answered the phone.

You all know what I’m talking about.


She’d always purse her lips too, like this “Hello?”

I’m very sorry I’ll never hear that again.  I think that’s something we all have in common, don’t we?

My Grandmother did more in the last 30 years of her life than most do in several lifetimes.  Artist, Beekeeper, weaver, gardener.  If you wanted a biography just look around the house.  There’s all kinds of stuff in there.  She kept herself busy and she was a vibrant, fascinating person.

She was a survivor, too. Had a stroke and learned to walk again.  She once fell down a set of steps when she slipped on some ice, had the peace of mind to relax her body into the fall, came out with only a few bruises.  How old was she at the time?  80?  I would have seriously messed myself up!

I know the pain she went through is going to be a topic of conversation, but for me the fact that she’s out of pain is no consolation.

I like to think that the reason she died the way she did is because she was so good at being alive that she stunk at dying.

I fully plan to stink at dying too.

Trying to live as much as she did is a hard act to follow, and that’s the highest praise I can give.

October 29, 2010

October 13, 2010

Grandma Greta was an extraordinary person. Something that always amazed me about my grandmother was her strong will and determination. She remained independent for almost her entire life, and only in the last few months relied on someone to take care of her.

Over the past few years I have spent a lot of time at Grandma Greta's house helping her with yard work and other strenuous tasks. I was always amazed when I would show up in the morning, and she would have already been in the yard for hours doing things that a normal 90 year old woman would never dream of. And when I got there, she wouldn't pack it in and watch me work, but would work alongside me as long as she could, or until she felt that it was time for breakfast.

One occasion where I was no less than shocked by her ability was when she called me and said that she needed help moving some stones. She said that she had tried herself, but that her back wasn't strong enough. When I got there, I found that she had already dug up and moved about five 40 pound cobblestones across the entire yard, using a pry-bar that must have weighed at least forty five. I let her know that I was fully capable of moving the stones and that she hadn't had to move any of them, but she was persistent that what she had done was fully within her capabilities. To say the least, I moved the rest of those stones as fast as I could, my pace set by the strongest 92 year old woman I knew.

For me, spending all those summer days at my grandmother's was not only about helping around the house, but also about spending time with such a wonderful person. I would work for a few hours, or sometimes less, and then she would call me to the front patio and would have a tray of wonderful food prepared. Then we would sit, sometimes for hours, just talking about whatever crossed our minds. I would tell her about the interesting things that I learned in my classes, and she would listen and comment, often teaching me something new as well.

I would always know that she really listened to what I said, because often in the next few weeks she would send me articles that she had clipped out that pertained to the subjects we had discussed or things that she thought I would be interested in.

She would also tell me about my grandfather and all of the things that he had made around the house, and about when my father was younger and the camping trips that they used to take. I loved hearing the stories about my grandfather, because I never got the chance to meet him, although now I have a colorful image of him that I owe mainly to Grandma Greta.

Grandma Greta always knew how to bring me happiness, and the memories that I have of her will continue to do the same.

Grandmother's Cake

October 25, 2010

                Grandmother’s Cake

She is there, so still, her face a lie to ninety-six
They have put on her golden wedding dress.
I turn away.

I see the homespun apron, deep pockets for keys
A bow carefully tied in front, then twisted to her back.
I hear her low voice singing in the summer kitchen
It rises and falls, hymns of praise, part of her being.
It’s part of the picture, too, a giggly twelve
I’ve come to learn the secret.
It is sponge cake making time.
Moist, crisp edges, a mica shine
Magic out of the wood burning stove.
Later years, I’ll try and try –I have the pan.
But never comes again—grandmother’s cake.
                                          Greta Hellmer


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