Obituary for Helen Simar
Helen Dorothy (Jenkins) Simar, 95, of Mercersburg, PA passed away peacefully
surrounded by family on Saturday, 6 January 2018 at her home, just nine days shy of
her 96th birthday.
Helen was born in Towson, MD on 15 January 1922. She was the daughter of the
late George and Emily McIntire Jenkins. Her father served in the famous 29th
Infantry Division in France during WWI. In addition to her husband and parents,
her sister Susan Jenkins Hussey predeceased her in death. She attended Aberdeen
High School in Aberdeen, MD and was a 1939 graduate of Elkton High School in
Elkton, Maryland. She then attended Goldey-Beacom Business School in
A veteran of World War II, Helen enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) on 27
February 1943. After basic training in Daytona Beach, Florida she was assigned as a
secretary in the Southeast Asia Command in New Delhi, India and Kandy, Ceylon,
serving under Lord Louis Mountbatten of the British Army. She returned to the U. S.
on leave in the spring of 1945. Soon after her return, the war ended and she was
discharged from the Army on 6 October 1945 with a rank of Staff Sergeant. This
overseas wartime experience ingrained in her a deep sense of duty and work ethic,
which was her trademark the rest of her life.
In 1946 she met Army First Sergeant Matthew L. Simar in Aberdeen, Maryland, also
a veteran of World War II in the Pacific Theater with the 25th Infantry Division, and
they were married in April the same year. Matthew retired from the Army in 1961
and the family settled in Harford County, Maryland. During his 27 years of active
duty Army service, the Simars were stationed in Richmond, Kentucky; Aberdeen,
Maryland; Trieste, Italy; and Germany twice while raising their three children.
Helen began her 36-year Civil Service career overseas, eventually retiring as a GS10
secretary to the Commanding General at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
Helen and Matthew retired to Shepherdstown, West Virginia in 1987, eventually
settling in the Mercersburg, Pennsylvania area in 2002. They had enjoyed 56 years
of marriage when Matthew passed in the fall of 2002. Helen remained involved in
two women’s veterans’ organizations, WAC Veterans’ Association Chapter 70 in
Aberdeen, Maryland and Quad State Women Veterans Association, for a number of
years. She was also a member of Amvets Post 224 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
and the American Legion Post 517 in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.
Helen is survived by her three children, Ron Simar and wife Susan of Mercersburg,
Pennsylvania; John Simar, Major USA Retired, and wife Jean of Forest, Virginia; and
Emily Berry and husband Dale of Chugiak, Alaska. Eight grandchildren, ten great
grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins also survive her.
Helen loved her family, sitting on her front porch with friends and family, fixing
breakfast for houseguests, the Orioles, the military service, and her veteran friends.
In 1943 she "shipped out" from Camden Rail Yards in Baltimore, so going to Oriole
games in Oriole Park at Camden Yards had a special meaning to her. She recently
got a kick out of meeting Boog Powell, an Oriole Hall of Famer, at a home Oriole
game and told him "I used to watch you play when I was a little girl." What made
that comment so humorous is that Boog is at least 25 years her junior.
A Memorial service will be held in the Mercersburg Academy Chapel in
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 1 PM. The Reverend
Paul Galey and the Reverend Will Whitmore will officiate. The service will be
followed by a reception at the Academy. In lieu of flowers the family requests
contributions be made to the Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association
Scholarship Fund in Helen's name. Information on this organization and the
scholarship program can be found at www.armywomen.org.