Patricia Carpenter Helme (1935-2016)
After more than 80 years of excellent health and many blessings, Patricia Helme died in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 16, 2016. The cause of death was a brain injury that went undetected for several days following a seemingly innocuous fall. Her last few days were spent in the hospital and later hospice, surrounded by her loving family.
Patricia Alice Carpenter was born March 15, 1935, in Battle Creek, Michigan. She was the only child of Ellsworth J and Madge (née Wilson) Carpenter.
In Battle Creek, she was a member of Saint Thomas Episcopal Church and attended the public schools. She graduated from Battle Creek High School in the class of 1953 as a member of the National Honor Society. She enrolled at Western Michigan University, where she joined the Delta Zeta Sorority. During summer breaks she worked at Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota, and there she met her future husband. Pat graduated from WMU as a Speech and English major in the class of 1957.
After college graduation, she married Frank Robert Helme on December 28, 1957. The newly minted “Mrs. Helme” taught in the public schools in Milford, Connecticut for two years, then they moved to Schenectady, New York in 1959.
During the five years she lived in Schenectady, she was a member of Union Street Christian Church and gave birth to all three of her children: Frank Ellsworth (Skipper), Michael Dwight and Mary Jane.
In 1964 the Helme family moved to Normal, Illinois. Over the years, Mom was a full-time mother, a member of University Christian Church and a secretary at Illinois State University. She worked on successful campaigns to help friends get elected as city council members and as mayor of the Town of Normal. She also helped organize the local chapter of the National Organization of Women and joined the League of Women Voters and Common Cause.
In 1983, as empty nesters, Pat and Frank moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where Pat worked as a secretary for the regional office of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, was a member of Northwood Christian Church and became a dedicated Colts fan.
In 2002, Grandma Pat moved to Fort Worth, where she could be near her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. She became a member of University Christian Church and was especially active in the Prayer Shawl Ministry and the WILD Women Book Club. She participated in Daughters of Abraham and was an avid bridge player.
Patricia is survived by her husband of 58 years, Frank Helme, of Fort Worth. She is also survived by her children: a son, Frank Helme, and his wife, Sheila Gibson Helme, of Colorado Springs, CO; another son, Michael Helme, and his wife, Xin (Xiaotong) Gong, of Warwick, NY; and a daughter, Mary Jane Alland, and her husband, John Mark Alland, of Fort Worth.
Her grandchildren and great grandchild are: Claire Elizabeth Helme of Denver, CO; Leah Anne Helme, her partner, Brandon Akins, and their daughter, Olivia Katherine Akins, all of Phippsburg, CO; and Jennifer Carole Alland, Patrick Kennedy Alland, and Timothy Robert Alland, all of Fort Worth.
Wherever she went, Patricia Carpenter Helme was a kind, helpful and generous neighbor, a warm, loyal and sensitive friend, a loving and nurturing wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother — a blessing to everyone who knew her.
Memorial Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2016, at University Christian Church in Fort Worth. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made either to the Helme Family Fund at University Christian Church (2720 S University Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76109) or to any food bank.
Her children are also requesting that friends and family send remembrances of Pat either by email to Mary Jane ([email protected]) or by mail to:
5309 Premier Court
Fort Worth TX 76132-4001