Governor's Mansion coordinator to leave

Helen Wiemer, the Englishwoman who has been the Governor's Mansion coordinator for more than 10 years, is leaving the position today.

Wiemer was hired by former Gov. Bob Miller and his wife, Sandy, and remained through the first term of Gov. Kenny Guinn and first lady Dema Guinn.

"It was so funny," Wiemer recalled Thursday, describing her hiring a decade ago. "I didn't know I was expected to live here (at the mansion).

"Then Sandy said, 'I'll show you your quarters -- please, start Monday.' This was on a Friday. It worked out beautifully."

Born in Essex, England, Wiemer moved to the United States with her husband Stan in 1958.

Wiemer began working at the mansion when the Millers' youngest child, Megan, was 2.

"It was like being grandma to another set of kids. It was just wonderful. And that little one, Megan, she was an absolute doll. She told me I was grandma No. 2.

"When the Millers went out, I'd guard those kids with my life. I like children and love being around them."

As mansion coordinator, Wiemer was responsible for arranging all public functions inside and outside the mansion.

"We used to entertain in the house all the time. When the Millers decided we should have a banquet room, it pretty much stopped. We now hold functions in the North Hall; some people call it the Nevada Room.

"We had beautiful fund-raisers out in the garden. That's where we raised money for the cancer society and all the nonprofits. There's been a lot of money raised here."

Wiemer is fond of her position and enjoyed the friendships she made over the years. She is adamant about working elsewhere in the community.

"Anything that keeps me going and running, I like," Wiemer said. "I'm leaving the mansion -- I'm not retiring because I will continue to work somewhere.

"I'm going to get my house in order then pop up somewhere," she said with a laugh.

"I wanted people to come here and visit us, with the idea of being very happy, so happy they would want to come back. And to make the governors and their wives look good. That was my goal."

Wiemer kept a journal of her days at the mansion and spoke fondly of the job.

"It's the job that kept me here, the fun and joy of doing it. And having people happy."

It is those happy people Wiemer said she will miss the most.

"My lovely, lovely people. They're always so gracious and appreciative of things. I've always worked with the public, but these people were wonderful. I've gotten hundreds of thank-you cards and notes from people -- and they're pouring in again. My husband said I should throw them out, but I can't. I've kept them all. I'll keep this in my heart forever.

"This became more than a job; it was a dedication. I wanted to be the best coordinator they've ever had here. I want people to think I did something special for them."

Wiemer visited elementary schools and read to the students. She also did some public speaking.

"I love the mansion. I know every corner of it, and I will miss it. I've polished the silver, worked in the garden, and tended to the roses. I wanted the place to look wonderful. Maybe someone will continue to take care of the roses."

Marybel Batjer, the governor's chief of staff, said a replacement for Wiemer has not yet been hired.

"Helen is retiring from state service," Batjer said. "The first lady or her special assistant, Judy Brusa, will coordinate functions."


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