COLUMBIA – Though words are powerful, at times they are simply inadequate. And so it is with describing the heart, the soul, of Helen Walsh.
Helen, age 90, of Columbia, departed this world on Thursday, September 1st, and is now in the presence of the Lord. Those who knew Helen were privy to a love and kindness of the purest kind. Her concern was always for others, whether it was family, neighbors, or a stranger she’d met for the first time. She led by example in showing compassion, in helping those in need. Most people must wait to enter Heaven to see an angel. Those who knew Helen got to be with one here on Earth.
Helen loved tending to the needs of her family, and did so with a gentle hand. She never meddled, but offered guidance and wanted nothing more than her family to be happy. Though her boys were grown, she never relinquished her role to love and watch over them in a way that only mothers can. If there was an event in which her children or grandchildren participated, she was there. She and her foldout chair attended countless ball games. She loved to attend book signings, tag along on business trips, and travel to her homeland of East Tennessee. She worked for 16 years at the Physical Education Center at USC, where she was known to “adopt” students who were far from home, absent of family. You see, her house, like her heart, was open to everyone she met. She spent years working for the USC Letterman’s Association, developing friendships that lasted until her passing. She also volunteered at the office at Shandon Baptist Church, where she was a member for five decades. She loved the many friendships she’d made with her Sunday School Class at Shandon, and their support in her final days lifted her spirits as did the visits, phone calls, and cards she received from her beloved friends, neighbors, and family.
Before listing the loved ones Helen left behind, the family members who have gone on ahead should be touched upon. Her loving parents, J. Blaine and Etoila, set the standard for bestowing love and compassion on others. Her younger brother, Willard, passed away from spinal meningitis when he was just a boy. Her brother, Bert, was as kind and gentle a man to ever walk the earth. Her brother, Rubin, a WWII and Korean veteran and war hero, approached life with an amazing child-like innocence. Her sister, Vera, warmed the hearts of others with her smile as well as her culinary skills. And lastly, Rod, her husband of over 50 years, who has surely waited impatiently for Helen to reunite with him in Heaven, preferably over biscuits and gravy, prepared by her, of course.
Surviving are her sons, Bill (Debbie), Chuck (Sandy), and Russ, all recipients of a loving mother’s touch that began at birth and ended on September 1st. Up to her final breath, she lamented the fact that she wouldn’t be able to take care of her boys any longer. She deeply loved her grandchildren, Becca and Brandon, Stephanie, Brent, and Jessica, and Brittany and Bianca. She adored her great-grandchildren, Jordan and Brayden, Gideon and Eden. Also surviving are her sisters, Mary Alice and Anna, who will no doubt carry on the love that is so ingrained in the family.
Services for Helen will be held at 3 o’clock, Sunday, September 4th, at Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, 7600 Trenholm Road Ext., Columbia. Burial will follow at Dutch Fork Baptist Church Cemetery, Irmo. The family will receive friends at the funeral home, prior to the service, beginning at 2 o’clock. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Terry Jordan c/o the Stout-Hicks Burial Site Upkeep Fund, 5710 Highway 91 N, Mtn. City, TN 37683.
Memories and condolences may be shared at ShivesFuneralHome.com.