Dr. Dennis Helsabeck Sr., a 1934 graduate of Johnson, celebrated his 100th birthday on December 17 of this year. On Sunday, December 16, Grandview Christian Church, Johnson City, Tennessee, held a party in his honor.
He has dedicated his life to expanding the Kingdom of God as a minister, chaplain, church planter, counselor, and professor. In addition to being a distinguished alumni Dr. Helsabeck has remained a great champion for the mission of Johnson University.
Recently, Jim Weaver visited Dr. Helsabeck in his home in Johnson City, Tennessee, and asked him to reminisce about his remarkable experiences. “It has been a better life than I have ever dreamed of – the people I met, the places I got to go, the churches I ministered. It has been a good journey. Even after retirement, I have enjoyed life. I can’t complain. I volunteered as a chaplain for 12 years. I haven’t been in the hospital for myself very much. I had tea once with Eleanor Roosevelt when she was a delegate to the United Nations in New York, and she asked me and about 12 others if we would like to see her apartment. I couldn’t turn that down.” Later during the interview he said, “I also went to church once with Jimmy Carter and [we] had our picture made with him.”
During the visit, Jim asked Dr. Helsabeck about the ways the church and ministry have changed over the past 80 years. “The church has gotten involved in education and in research, and churches have done things together like the World Convention,” he said. He first attended a World Convention in 1938 in Buffalo, New York, and since has attended eight more. Remembering the World Conventions brought back fond memories of his sister Clara who attended the first one in 1930 in Washington, D.C.