Roger Alan Helser
Roger Alan Helser, age 80, of Arizona passed away on February 28, 2023 at his home in Gilbert, Arizona surrounded by family.
Roger was born January 12, 1943 in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Lester and Frances (Arnold) Helser. Roger was the second of three children, born between older sister Roberta and younger brother Terry. Roger’s childhood home was in Speedway, Indiana just 1 1/2 blocks from the main entrance to Indianapolis Motor Speedway where they held a 500-mile race on Memorial Day every year. From a young age, Roger loved building and fixing things; his favorite toys were Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys. Roger was always very good at math and it was his favorite subject in school. He loved fishing, playing pickup basketball games with neighborhood friends, and working on cars. Roger grew up playing Little League baseball and football, but ultimately loved football best and played all 4 years of high school. He was an All-State Lineman (tackle) for the Speedway Sparkplugs and helped his team secure back-to-back undefeated regular seasons his junior and senior years. Roger was nicknamed Big Rog and Bigfoot (size 16EEE) by his teammates. Roger also played the sousaphone in his high school orchestra, marching band and Pep Band during the basketball games. In his spare time, he enjoyed helping his father Lester, an electrical engineer, tinker around in his extensive shop located in the family basement.
Roger graduated from Speedway High School in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1961, attended the Air Force Academy, and then the University of Illinois, where he met and married his first wife Randa (Nusbaum) Copeland. They were married in 1965 in the Wesley Methodist Church in Urbana, Illinois. This marriage was blessed with 9 children: three daughters: Kimberly, Laura and Marjorie (Joshua) Schneberger; and six sons: Jason (Alicia Solis), Nathan, Mark (Esther Bartsch), Daniel (Karyn Burke), Chad (Jenna Ramsey), and David (Ashlee Bedinger).
Roger and Carolyn (Lesamiz) Thomason, were married and sealed for time and all eternity in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mesa Arizona Temple in 2013. Along with his wife Carolyn, he served the Lord by fulfilling missions for the church in New York, Wyoming, Arizona, and North Dakota. One of Roger’s dreams was fulfilled during his mission in Wyoming where he and Carolyn served during the construction of the Star Valley Wyoming Temple.
Roger practiced architecture in his professional career for many years. He was a very faithful, active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he served in many positions throughout his life. He loved listening to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and the Hooked on Classics album by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Roger would play the classics loudly in the car as some of his children would pretend play air violin, air trumpet and other instruments while one or two others would very earnestly perform as the concertmaster and conductor, vigorously conducting the music with flailing arms and nodding heads. Roger had a beautiful singing voice and often sang in the church choir. Roger’s children remember his love for the mountains, lakes, and rivers where he taught them how to fish and shoot rifles. During annual family reunions in the mountains, Roger enjoyed planning and executing elaborate scavenger hunts with rhyming riddles, poems, puzzles and clues for his children and grandchildren to solve. One of his favorite pastimes was watching football—any level, any team—he just loved the game. Roger loved to laugh, was quick-witted, and had a dry sense of humor—something many of his children have inherited from him.
Roger is survived by his wife Carolyn, 9 children, 25 grandchildren, 9 step-children and 50 step-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Terry (Wanda Ralston) Helser, of Annapolis, Maryland. Roger is preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Frances (Arnold/Ward) Helser, by his sister, Roberta (Ward/Helser) Gehrke, and by his step-daughter Anna (Thomason) Davies.
Visitation will be from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM immediately followed by a memorial service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel located at 2233 S Wade Dr, Gilbert, AZ 85295 on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. Those who are unable to attend in- person may view the service via Zoom at this link: zoom.us/j/94078526493
Roger will be laid to rest at the Mountain View Cemetery 7900 E Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85207. Horizon Funeral Care is assisting the family.