Helen Messersmith

Helen Rose (Johnson) Messersmith passed peacefully on February 2, 2024, in Salina, Kansas, comforted by her sisters’ presence.

Helen was born to John and Elizabeth Pfeifer on February 23, 1929, in Greely, Kansas. She was always proud of her large family, being the 6th of 11 children. After starting her adult life in Leoti, Kansas, where her family lived, Helen moved to Colorado. She settled and lived over forty years on a ranch near Karval, Colorado, where she raised her son, Larry.

Helen developed a distinguished reputation for helping others and working hard. She demonstrated love, empathy, and kindness through acts of service. Family, friends, and community members knew they could count on Helen in a time of need. It was not at all unusual for her to assist stranded travelers as well who were fortunate to cross her path. She kept her house immaculately clean and lawn manicured. At a time when others her age were looking forward to retirement, she committed to raising her granddaughters, Shelley and Brenda. She continued to work to support the life she believed they deserved, sometimes juggling three jobs to do so. Helen truly loved and thrived in her role as proud “Gramma” to Shelley and Brenda!

It could be said that Helen gently stepped into the role of the family matriarch following her mother’s passing in 1984. She opened her house for enormous family gatherings and made everyone feel like it brought her joy to do so. Christmases at Helen’s were especially cherished by her siblings, nieces, and nephews. Helen was a notoriously great cook! She kept the full meals, homemade candies, and pies coming for the herd of family that poured into her home on the ranch for the holiday.

Helen lived a long life and those close to her are grateful for the time. Her fantastic sense of humor, distinguished laugh, and demonstrations of love for those left behind will be missed beyond measure.

Helen’s family would like to express their sincere gratitude to her sister, Theresa Beedy, and her niece, Roxie Eichelberger, for their thoughtful care of Helen during her residency in Salina, KS. Their dedication of time and energy to ensure Helen’s needs were always met is truly appreciated.

Helen is survived by her sisters, Theresa Beedy (Leon) of Salina, KS; Alice Shafer of Litchfield, CT, and Lucille Mann of Tulsa, OK; her granddaughters, Shelley Dorland (Brett) of Greely, CO, and Brenda Johnson of Alvin, TX; her great-granddaughters, Kalyn and Karlie Dorland of Greely, CO; her great-grandson, Ryan Johnson of Austin, TX; and her daughter-in-law, Pat Johnson of Bozeman, Montana; her step great-grandson, Richard Knibbs of Lewisville, TX.

Helen is proceeded in death by her parents, John and Elizabeth Pfeifer; her spouse, Barney Messersmith; her son, Larry Johnson; her brothers, Bernard, Edward, and William Pfeifer; her sisters, Severina Wimmer, Lorena Swanson, and Arlene Lenox.

A memorial service to celebrate Helen’s life will be held on Friday, March 1, 2024, at 11:00 AM in the Roselawn Memorial Heights Chapel; 1920 E. Crawford, Salina, KS 67401. The location of a following luncheon will be provided at the service.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Roselawn Burial and Cremation Services. Online condolences may be sent to www.roselawnsalina.com.