Helmut Peter Meyer passed away December 13, 2023. He was born in Offenbach am Main, Germany on February 23, 1927. He was raised in modest beginnings, his mother initially a leather worker and his father eventually a policeman. Early education was at Wilhelm School and he demonstrated strong academic capabilities. After graduating from Friedberg Technical Institute in 1949 as a Mechanical Engineer and working in Germany, he emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1953. He married his fiancé from Germany, Waltrud (nee Quednau) in 1954. Following birth of two sons, the family emigrated to Sidney, N.Y. in 1957, where Helmut began a long career working for Bendix Corporation.
Over his career Helmut worked for Wilhelm Stohr Company, then Faber and Schleicher Company on printing presses in Offenbach, followed by Canadian Ice in Toronto. Taking a position in Bendix’s Scintilla Division, he became a specialist in aircraft ignitor plug design, ultimately recognized for 9 U.S. Patents. The business was acquired by GE Unison, with Helmut and Waltrud accepting a transfer to Jacksonville, Florida and relocating in 1983. Retirement came in 1990, with Helmut and Waltrud staying in Jacksonville through 2015.
Helmut had a wide variety of interests he enjoyed over his lifetime. These included reading, chess, gardening, swimming, genealogy, world travel, history, photography, investing, solving puzzles and card playing. Much of his knowledge in these areas he was able to share and pass on to family members. He was a member of the Sidney Chess Club and often played with co-workers at Bendix in Sidney and Unison in Jacksonville, Florida. Researching church historical records, he was able to trace the family tree on his mother’s side (Romer) back to 1601. He maintained both vegetable and flower gardens at Johnston Circle and the new home he helped build on Siver Street in Sidney, experimenting with many crops from tomatoes to kohlrabi and flowers from tulips to zinnias. Flowers became a bigger focus in the hotter Jacksonville climate.
Helmut was pleased to have taken on some of the Sidney home building activities himself, including plumbing connections, electrical wiring, and tiling. He had helped financially support home building of family members back in Germany, and later would do the same for his son’s families once they acquired homes. He shared his hands-on technical skills by tiling the church rectory bathroom and passing much of his homeowner knowledge to his sons.
While growing up Helmut was a voracious reader, whetting his appetite for travel by reading many of the Karl May adventure novels including those about the American West. He read many early European history texts, and world exploration summaries. This interest in travel lasted throughout his lifetime. Aside from many family trips in the eastern U.S. during the 1960’s and 1970’s, three major family trips to visit relatives in Germany were arranged in 1960, 1969 and 1973. Some of his favorite ocean swimming venues included Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, Revere Beach in Boston, St. Augustine Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida; on any trip if he was near an Ocean, he would go in. Swimming for exercise was always in play, from the Sidney Municipal Pool to many Lakes and State Parks in New York and to the JCA in Jacksonville.
Travel ramped up after both Gerhard and Ralph graduated college. Overall, there were 20 trips across the Atlantic and 3 across the Pacific. Besides visiting relatives in Germany and Italy, exciting trips included Austria, Spain, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Turkey, the Canary Islands, Majorca, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Egypt, South Africa and Swaziland, China, Thailand, Australia, Greece, Hungary, England and Scotland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Bahamas and Alaska. Both Helmut and Waltrud enjoyed learning about the people, cultures, history and natural beauty of the sites they visited.
Health issues led to a transition to Assisted Living in Fairfax, Virginia in 2015 through 2022. During this time, he was able to continue interests in reading, investing and family life. He enjoyed spending time with visiting family members, playing cards, and reminiscing. Included are an early work photo from Germany and a family luncheon photo while in Virginia. A focus became taking care of his wife until age-related physical issues became too significant. He is survived by wife Waltrud, son Ralph, 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.