Maurice Swayze Helmka Jr., 88, of Harrisburg, Missouri, passed away Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, at The Bluffs in Columbia, Missouri, surrounded by his loving family.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, at Memorial Funeral Home . A funeral service will follow at 1 p.m. at the funeral home with Pastor Dennis Stuart officiating. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery with full military honors.

Maurice was born Aug. 18, 1931, in Neptune, New Jersey, the son of Maurice Sr. and Elva (Reid) Helmka, who preceded him in death. He was married March 3, 1956, in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey, to Lorraine (Bittel) Helmka, who survives. Maurice retired Jan. 28, 1988, from the United States Postal Service as a city mail carrier in Columbia, Missouri.

Maurice honorably served our country in the Navy from 1950 to 1954, stationed in the Philippines and later in San Nick Island, California, as a radio control man. He was a volunteer firefighter in Neptune City, New Jersey, where he later became chief in 1969. He and his family moved to Harrisburg, Missouri, in 1970.

Maurice was active in Prison Fellowship in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Moberly, Missouri. Maurice was a Sunday school teacher and deacon at Grace Bible Church. Maurice and Lorraine were licensed foster parents to several children with whom they shared their home, hearts and family. Together, they owned and operated a used furniture business in Harrisburg. Many of Maurice and Lorraine’s furniture customers became extended family, sharing coffee and meals with them in their home. Maurice and Lorraine always had a way of making sure everyone felt welcome.

Maurice loved the Lord with ALL of his heart, sharing his love for the Lord in his final days here on Earth. Maurice also dearly loved his family and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. Maurice was known for his award-winning smile that he continually shared with his family until he was called home.

Throughout Maurice’s life, he was most comforted when Lorraine was right beside him. Maurice and Lorraine’s marriage was a wonderful example of true love.

Maurice is survived by six children, Robert Helmka (Kem) of Ashland, Missouri, Stephen Helmka (Robin) of Lake Ozark, Missouri, Maurice “Marty” Helmka III (Patty) of Hallsville, Missouri, Sharon McCallister (Alan) of Harrisburg, Missouri, Brian Helmka (Gwen) of Festus, Missouri, and Roger Helmka (Clover) of Columbia, Missouri; 13 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren. He was also preceded in death by three brothers and one sister.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, c/o Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., Columbia, MO 65202.

Online condolences may be made to the family at

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