Henry Benjamin Niemeyer


Henry Benjamin Niemeyer, 82, of Pine, died April 22, 2007, after a long illness and nine months of excellent care by RTA Hospice and Palliative Care of Payson.

He was born on Oct. 29, 1924 to Benjamin Philip and Alma Quade Niemeyer in St. Paul, Minn. His father died in St. Paul when he was 11 months old. His mother took him to live in Faulkton, S.D., his father's hometown, in 1925. She married Michael G. Ryan of Faulkton in 1927 and in 1929, the family moved to Sioux Falls, where he was raised with this stepbrother, Michael D. Ryan and his stepsister, Marjorie Alma Ryan, both born in that city.

A veteran of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy with his mother's permission in May 1942 and served first in the Caribbean and then in the Pacific Theater, on the USS Bunker Hill and the USS Flint, which brought him to Tokyo Harbor at the end of the war.

Mr. Niemeyer married Helen Welch, of Fort Wayne, Ind. on Jan. 7, 1947. Her two children by a previous marriage, Karen Sue and Peter Joe Welch, were raised by the Niemeyers.

Mr. Niemeyer became a contractor in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he built a number of homes, before moving his operation to Minnesota in the early 1960s.

After the home that he built on Black Lake was totally destroyed by two twisters in the spring of 1965, he decided to move to Arizona, after rebuilding his own and two other homes in that town.

He brought his family to Pine in 1968, where he bought land. In 1969 he built a restaurant with cabins called "The High Country Inn," which today is "The Rimside Grill and Cabins."

After a sojourn of about seven years in Oceanside, Calif., the Niemeyers returned in 1976 to re-open their restaurant in Pine, which they operated until retirement in 1998. The Niemeyers became Jehovah's Witnesses in Minnesota and have been active members of the Kingdom Hall in Payson.

Mr. Niemeyer is survived by his wife, Helen; his daughter, Karen Smeets of Sun City, Calif.; grandsons, James Reedy of Murrieta, Calif., Wesley Smeets of San Jacinto, Calif.; his brother Michael D. Ryan of Mitchell, S.D.; and his sister, Marjorie Rush of Lakewood, Wash.

He was preceded in death by his stepson, Peter Joe Welch, who died in Grand Junction, Colo., in 1984.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 28 in the Kingdom Hall, 1616 N. McLane Road, Payson.

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