DELPHOS — One needs to look no further than the 2017 Tri-County Woman of the Year for a glimpse into Delphos’s or Fort Jennings’ history.

Helen Kaverman’s passion is history and genealogy, sharing what she “digs” up with anyone who asks.

“My love of history was instilled in me by teachers at Fort Jennings High School. Marie Uhrich (history and English) had all of us students do a pedigree/family history chart. As a teenager and young adult, I would listen to relatives and friends and then I took the time to write the information down once I got home. We should learn from history what to do and not to do. History does repeat itself, as they say.

“Now things move so fast that history seems to be getting lost. I love to write about what people had to do and the hardships they endured when they settled this area — the hardship of a difficult journey by boat to come to America, traveling long distances by foot, mosquitoes in the Great Black Swamp. I would not have made a good pioneer woman,” she laughed. “I’m thankful to live here and thankful for the hard work of the pioneers.”

Kaverman helped with the Fort Jennings Bicentennial book in 2012, was co-author of the Reflections book and is currently working with a group of history enthusiasts on a book chronicling the history of Delphos and the immediate area.

She is also a member of the Delphos Canal Commission, assuming the responsibilities of treasurer when the commission was formed.

When Father Chris Vasko decided to raise the Marguerite from the canal, Kaverman was his first choice to spearhead the media surrounding the event.

“When we (Squires) first began to think of raising the remains of the Marguerite, I went to Helen as a member of the parish whom I knew well enough to get as much information as I could about the boat and its origins,” Vasko said. “Once the boat was out of the water and we began to consider how it would eventually be displayed, Helen was once again supportive and instrumental in working with the community to get us accepted as ‘for real’.”

Kaverman was presented with the Delphos Heritage Award at the Canal Commission’s Boatman’s Breakaway Dinner in 2015.

In the 1960s, Kaverman was active in 4-H, first in Allen County with her children and later in Putnam County with her grandchildren.

“I believe strongly in 4-H and it is dear to my heart,” she said. “Kids learn leadership and practical skills, which sometimes lead to lifelong hobbies.”

She also worked with former Mayor John Sheeter and others to establish the Delphos-Verl Friendship Link that continues today. She and other members of the community traveled to Verl, Germany, and other areas where the original Delphos immigrants came from.

Born the oldest child of seven to Richard and Marie (Kreift) Grothause, her parents encouraged her to be honest, determine what she wanted to do and then put the effort into it and get it done.

“We were also told to practice our faith and attend church regularly,” Kaverman said.

That advice led to her very active volunteerism at St. John’s as a member of the Rosary Altar Society, communion distributor and long-time member of the church’s cemetery board. She was also a Eucharistic minister at Mass and for shut ins and enjoyed many years of helping in the kitchen making dressing at St. John’s Church Festival. She is currently writing an updated version of St. John’s Parish and school history

The only time her loyalty to St. John’s wavers is when they play her beloved Fort Jennings Musketeers. Once, before a sporting event pitting her two loves against each other, she died half her hair orange and black and the other blue and gold.

“I am a loyal Musketeer but still maintain contact and friendships with classmates from both schools. I am always happy to cheer on the Blue Jays … unless they compete with the Musketeers,” the Fort Jennings graduate said. “My grandchildren were Musketeer athletes, cheerleaders, band members, etc. As luck would have it, all six of our St. John’s graduates married and moved to Fort Jennings. All 20 grandchildren graduated from Fort Jennings.”

Kaverman was in regular attendance at sporting events, band concerts and the like and took countless photos for yearbooks and local newspapers. She also contributed many articles to The Delphos Herald and Putnam County Sentinel.

Kaverman and her late husband, Hubert Kaverman, had six children: Bill (Jeri) Kaverman, Ann Wiechart (the late Gary Wiechart), Mary (Jim) Boehmer, Karen (Jim) Dickman, Ray (Ann) Kaverman and Tony (Lisa) Kaverman. Along with 20 grandchildren, there are soon to be 21 great-grandchildren.