Dorothy Williams was born in 1931 to Betty and Harry Williams of Waterloo, Iowa. She was the first born but a couple years later had a sister, Shirley, to share her life with. Dorothy graduated from West High School in 1949. She attended Broadlawns School of Nursing, in Des Moines, Iowa and graduated in 1952. She used to say, “if you get on Grand Avenue you can go anywhere in Des Moines.” (That was certainly before the interstate!)
She met and fell in love with Bob Helms and moved to Franklin, Minnesota where they spent their young married lives having and raising 6 children. Dorothy worked part time at the Redwood Falls Hospital.
Later Bob and Dorothy moved back to Waterloo, Iowa for a year. Bob’s job soon had them moving to the countryside north of Garrison. When the youngest child was 8 and the twins were 10 years old Dorothy decided to go back to work. Dorothy Helms, RN joined the “VGH Family” in 1970. She worked part time on the 11-7 shift for 26 years. She was an excellent nurse who treated her patients with caring and compassion (yes even tough love, when it came to the patient having to do for themselves to get better!) She was a great friend and a mentor to many young nurses just starting their careers. She was patient and kind when teaching them how to be a nurse. She also got the chance to mentor and train her three daughters, Connie, Dawn & Brenda, all of which became nurses. A great testimony to their mother!
There are four generations of nurses in Dorothy’s family starting with her own mother Betty, who was the first married nurse to work at Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa.
As her children grew and started their own families she soon became known as Grandma Dot” to her friends and co-workers. Dorothy retired in 1996 and was asked many times to come out of retirement and return to nursing, but she was spending her retirement with her family and friends. She found herself busier than ever enjoying life.
In October of 2010 Dorothy passed away from lung cancer. Her nursing legacy lives on in her granddaughter, Valerie, as the newest nurse in a lineage of nurses. We love and miss her every day but know that she is in God’s loving arms.