Helen Rose (Johnson) Messersmith

February 14, 2024

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 Greeley County, 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 for over forty years on a ranch near Karval, Colorado, where she raised her son, Larry.

She worked at Karval’s school, driving a bus and cooking for students and staff. She worked at her father-in-law’s café and gas station at Punkin Center for several years as well.

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!

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 all who attended. 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 holidays.

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 extends their gratitude to Theresa (sister) and Roxie Eichelberger (niece), for their dedication of time and energy to ensure Helen’s needs and desires were always met in Salina.

Helen is survived by her sisters, Theresa (Leon) Beedy of Salina, KS; Alice Shafer of Litchfield, CT, and Lucille Mann of Tulsa, OK; her granddaughters, Shelley (Brett) Dorland of Greeley, CO, and Brenda Johnson of Alvin, TX; her great-granddaughters, Kalyn and Karlie Dorland of Greeley, CO; her great-grandson, Ryan Johnson of Austin, TX; her daughter-in-law, Pat Johnson of Bozeman, MT; and 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, Clarence and William Pfeifer; her sisters, Severina Wimmer, Lorena Swanson, and Arlene Lenox.

A public memorial service will be held on Friday, March 1, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at Roselawn Mortuary and Memorial Park 1920 E Crawford St Salina, KS 67401

A luncheon will immediately follow.