March 20, 2018

In memoriam: Bruce Helmer

Alumni Band member Bruce Helmer, age 95, passed away on January 21, 2018. Bruce was a participant in the first Alumni Band Reunion and the first Alumni Band Overseas Tour to Italy in 1985.

Bruce graduated from Central High School, Lansing in 1941. He started college at MSU in the fall of 1941 and was a student there until April 1943. He enlisted in the enlisted reserves in July of 1942 and was called to active duty in the Army Air Corps in April 1943. He served in Europe with the Army Air Force. Bruce returned to the USA and after his discharge in 1945, he returned to college in 1946 and graduated in 1948. While at MSU, he took ROTC and after 28 years of reserve service, he retired from the army reserves intelligence service with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He received the Meritorious Service Medal in 1982. Bruce retired from the State of Michigan in 1983 and had worked for the Michigan Employment Service (MESC) for 25 years.

He was a very well known musician with big swing bands, concert bands, and also did musical shows and concerts. He was a member of the musician’s union for 50 years.

Bruce also belonged, all in good standing, to the Elks Lodge of Lansing, Moose of Lansing, American Legion Post 269 of Haslett, VFW Post 701 of Lansing, and the Lansing Chapter of Military Officers Association of America.

Bruce was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since 1927, and was an usher for over 30 years.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Ruth W. Helmer in 2011; and sister, Constance Barnett. He is survived by his nieces, Kristin Barnett and Susan Barnett; stepgrandson, Dwayne (Heather) Job; step-great-grandchildren, Erik and Victoria Job; and many other family members and friends.

The funeral service will take place at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, January 26, 2018, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Lansing. The family will receive friends an hour prior to the service on Friday. Memorial contributions may be made in Bruce’s name to the Capital Area Humane Society.