AAFA #0407

1935 AR – 1996 AR






Little Rock, AR—Friday, 23 February 1996


            Mary Edna Helms, of Little Rock, passed away February 21, 1996. She was a homemaker, a member of the Baptist faith, a graduate of Baptist School of Nursing, a volunteer with American Lung Association of Arkansas and CARTI.

Her survivors include her husband A. Leon Helms; one son, Alan L. Helms of Bryant; a daughter, Gail Helms Smart of Springfield, MO; and five grandchildren.

Funeral service will be Saturday, at 11 a.m., at Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Chapel. Graveside service will be at Richland Cemetery at Arkadelphia on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Visitation will be today, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to American Lung Associations of Arkansas or one’s favorite charity.

Photo from Richland Cemetery, Gum Springs, Clark Co., AR—

Permission granted by the photographer, Lori Frazier Sparks


AAFA NOTES: SSDI records show that Mary E. Helms (SS# issued in AR) was born 14 July 1935, last residence not listed.

            We included the obituary of her grandfather Joseph Warren Alford Jr. in Arkansas Obituaries.

Mary was born in Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas. She was the daughter of Robert Warren Alford and Edna Mae Williams. She married Leon Helms, Jr. May 19, 1957 in Hot Springs. Mary and Leon had two children: Alan Helms and Gail Helms Smart.

From Gil Alford: Before her retirement Mary was a nurse. She was also a staunch Republican—though I stay strictly out of politics, especially in AAFA, Mary lectured me more than once regarding the positive aspects of the Republicans! Over the years we’ve published several articles and poems that Mary sent about her feelings for AAFA and its members. Those who knew Mary will miss her optimism and enthusiasm, and all of us will miss her contributions to AAFA ACTION. She died on a Wednesday, and as late as Monday of that week she was still talking about going to the 1996 AAFA meeting in Springfield. She will be remembered and missed at the meeting.



By Lodwick Alford, AAFA #0011


When Gilbert Alford and others of us first began to exchange correspondence with Mary Helms, we knew she was somebody special. Then when she joined AAFA and later came to one of our annual meetings for the first time, we were doubly sure she was very, very, extra special. The thing that most impressed me was her enthusiasm and sheer delight in being around and among Alfords. She positively glowed in a natural way without the slightest hint of affectation. It didn’t seem to matter whether any of us were close kin, kissing cousins or of very distant lines, she was warm and disarming to all. She herself wrote of her pleasure and delight in belonging to AAFA and how she felt so at home at our annual reunions. Several times I wrote about this in my comments and editorials appearing in AAFA ACTION. To me she was the epitome of an AAFA member.

When I first heard she was very ill, I could not help shedding a tear. I alerted every prayer group I could find and we sent Christian love her way. Oh Lord, how we will miss her! I am sure her loved ones will be comforted secure in the knowledge she is now with the Master. May she rest in heavenly peace.

            For more information on her genealogy, see Descendants of Robert Alford b. 1760 England .

            Her lineage: Mary Edna 1935 AR1, Robert Warren 1909 AR2, Joseph Warren 1886 AR3, Joseph Warren 1857 AR4, Madison Ewing 1815 AL5, David 1785 VA6, Robert 1760 England7.