Emily Smith Helton, 84, died peacefully in her home in Loganville, Georgia on June 1, 2022. She was predeceased by her parents; her grandson, Benjamin Thomas Gossett; her husband, Ronald L. Helton; and her sister, Dorothy (Deanie) Smith Goode. She is survived by a daughter, Rhonda Hambright (Harlan); sons, Tim Helton (Lilia) and Andy Helton; grandchildren, Joe Gossett, Emily Helton, Natalie Helton, and Kathryn Helton; many cousins, nieces, nephews, and close friends.
She was born in Belmont, North Carolina the daughter of the late Mozelle Ramsey Smith Huffstetler and Sinclair M. Smith. She grew up on Belmont-Mount Holly Road on what was called the Smith Plantation. Helping to grow wheat, hay, corn, and barley and raise chickens, pigs, and cows, she even drove the farm tractor. She met her future husband in high school. After they graduated from Belmont High School, she worked as a secretary at the Aberfoyle Textile Mill while he attended Duke University and was in the Navy ROTC. Graduation and commissioning occurred all in the same week and ended with a wedding on June 13, 1959. Husband Ron was stationed at Yorktown Naval Weapons Station in Virginia. Navy life (active duty) lasted the required two years. She worked in civil service with the U. S. Navy as a secretary until her daughter Rhonda was born in nearby Williamsburg. Her life as a Navy wife was to continue as Ron joined the reserves – serving for 30 years as a Navy Seabee. Ron’s degree in Electrical Engineering took them to Winston-Salem, North Carolina where their second child, Tim, was born. After working for Western Electric, Ron was offered a job with AT&T Long Lines and they moved to Atlanta.
Son Andy came along a few years later. As soon as the Braves moved into town, the family went to most of the home games, getting there early for batting practice. She was an avid fan and through the years got to know the players, the police, parking attendants, ushers, and the people sitting around them. As the years went by, they even traveled to out of town games as far as Montreal, Canada. She was also a fan of the talents of her children, attending games, recitals and concerts and taking them to rehearsals and practices in her big green Ford Country Squire. She later did the same for her grandchildren, attending softball, football, basketball games, recitals and concerts. She worked at Doctors Hospital in the personnel department for a time, making many friends. Her main occupation as mother and wife helped her husband serve his country, community, and church.
Church and Sunday School were mandatory for her family where she taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and served on the Worship Committee of the last two churches that she attended. Serving as president of the United Methodist Women in both Tucker First UMC (Wesleyan Ambassadors) and Bethlehem UMC (Lois Phillips Circle), she was able to lead and share her many talents to give to others.
Her special gift was making Christmas magical at home and at her church from the food to the decorations to the gifts under the tree, never forgetting the reason for the season. Always baking, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and nursing ills of the family, she was a domestic engineer of the highest degree. She was especially skilled in textile arts and used those skills in making clothes, quilts, and curtains. Her home decorating skills showed in every room of her comfortable house, always well-kept and orderly. She joined the Red Hat Ladies while living in Stone Mountain, having a good time and making more friends. A member of the Smoke Rise Morning Glories Garden Club, her beautiful yard was always filled with in season flowers. She fed the birds, the deer, and the feral cats living on her property.
She loved her God, her church, her children, five grandchildren, her cat Sunshine, extended family, many friends and neighbors, her clubs, and shopping. Loved by her family, friends, churches, neighborhood, community, and Navy Seabee family, she would always say, “to have a friend, you need to be a friend.” With a terminal diagnosis of cancer, she was at peace with it because she knew that she was going to meet her Savior. The family thanks caregiver Elaine Brock and Hospice of Atlanta for their loving care at the end of her life.
A memorial service will be held at Tucker First United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 9th. Visitation will be at 10:00 AM before the service at 11:00 AM followed by a reception in the Chapel. Interment of ashes will be in Belmont, North Carolina at a later date. Memorials may be directed to: Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association – Seabee.org/scholarships; St. Simons Presbyterian Church Music Fund – sspres.org, the Make a Wish Foundation Georgia – wish.org/Georgia.
Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.wagesfuneralhome.com. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, A Family Company, 3705 Highway 78 West, Snellville, GA 30039 (770-979-3200) has been entrusted with the arrangements.
Reposted courtesy of Wages Funeral Home.