William Ettweine Helms Sr.

William Ettweine Helms Sr.

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 31 Dec 1987 (aged 93)
East Lansdowne, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 6710843 · View Source
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William E. Helms, a retired Bell Telephone executive and former mayor of Lansdowne who was active in numerous civic organizations throughout his life, died Thursday. He was 93 and lived in Secane, Delaware County.

Helms was mayor of Lansdowne from 1962 to 1978 and enjoyed immense popularity. Though he was a registered Republican, the second time he ran his name appeared on both the Republican and Democratic tickets.

Before running for mayor he had served one term on borough council. When he left the mayor's office, Democratic chairman Dennis Leeper called him "a model for all public servants." For more than 50 years he lived on West Plumstead Avenue in Lansdowne.

Born in Southwest Philadelphia, Helms moved to Delaware County while still a youngster. He went to work for Bell in 1910 as a teen-ager, delivering messages. He worked more than 50 hours a week for a weekly wage of $3.24.

When he retired 49 1/2 years later, he was manager of the Medical and Safety Division of the Pennsylvania-Delaware region.

During World War I, Helms served in six major battles, including Chateau Thierry, the Marne and Argonne Forest, with the Army's 103rd Engineers of the 28th Division.

Discharged with the rank of corporal, he retained a lifelong interest in veterans' affairs and organizations. He helped organize Bell Telephone's American Legion Post 69 and was commander of Legion Post 65 in Lansdowne from 1947 to 1948. For 10 consecutive years he directed the Post 65 benefit minstrel show. He also belonged to Post 7 of the 28th Division Association.

From 1951 to 1960, he served on the Philadelphia Safety Council. He was a past president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and past president of the Delaware County Highway Safety Council. He served on various committees of the National American Society of Safety Engineers during the 1950s.

A sports enthusiast, Helms officiated at high school and college track meets for many years. For nine years, he ran the Delaware County Track and Field Championships. He was a past president of the Officials Club of Philadelphia and the Union Athletic Association of Lansdowne. He also was a member of the PIAA Track Officials.

Helms was a strong supporter of Scouting and had served as a Cubmaster, Scoutmaster and merit badge counselor.

A longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church of Lansdowne, Helms was a past president of the Men's Bible Class. He was a trustee and an elder in the church.

From 1957 to 1965, he was chairman of the board of the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra. He also was a member of the speaker's bureau of the Salvation Army, and belonged to the Lansdowne Republican Club, the Telephone Pioneers of America and the Lansdowne Fire Company. For a time he served as a Red Cross first-aid instructor.

His late wife, the former Pansy May Pickard, died in 1977.

Survivors include three sons, Jacob G., William E. Jr. and Robert P., 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

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  • Created by: Michael Helms
  • Added: 21 Aug 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6710843
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Ettweine Helms Sr. (27 Dec 1894–31 Dec 1987), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6710843, citing Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Michael Helms (contributor 46548770) .