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Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Services

3195 Atlanta Highway, Athens, GA

OBITUARY

Helen Louise Terrell Vandiver

July 21, 1933May 21, 2020
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Helen Louise Terrell Vandiver, 86, went home to Jesus, Thursday, May 21, 2020 at her home with complications of pancreatic cancer.

Helen was born at home to Charlie Frank O’Kelley and Sally Floy Rhodes O’Kelley on July 21, 1933 in Bishop, Georgia. As a child Helen grew up picking and planting cotton, vegetables and plowed with a mule on her parents land. In high school she was offered a basketball scholarship from the Atlanta Peaches (Pro NBA) but declined it since her Daddy had recently been killed in a car accident. The announcer at her basketball games and the radio called her Winchester 16 because her shot was so accurate and she never missed. Helen graduated from Watkinsville High School in 1953 and went to work at C&S Bank for seven years. She taught Sunday School at Watkinsville Christian Church.

She met the love of her life, Tommy Terrell, at the VFW Club dancing in 1956 and they married at the Watkinsville Christian Church on June 3, 1960. After they were married they moved to Griffin, Georgia, then to Columbus, Georgia, where their daughter, Terry Terrell Bennett, was born in 1962. In 1965, they moved to Miami and in 1966 moved to Athens, Georgia in Forest Heights. Later they moved to Woodhaven and were there for 25 years.

Helen was a strong Christian and was a member of Prince Avenue Baptist Church. She loved spending time with her friends in Sunday School and Church. She was always faithful to be at Church and loved the Lord. She knew she would one day go to Heaven and she never feared death.

Helen was a great cook, loved to sew, grow vegetables, read books, watch movies, and spend time with her family and friends. When she was a widow, she and a group of other widows got together weekly to have lunch and play dominos.

After Tommy died in 2004, she married Roger Vandiver on October 24, 2010. They were married at Prince Avenue Baptist Church and were married for 14 months when Roger passed away on December 18, 2011.

Helen will be remembered as a wonderful and kind lady who was a friend to everyone she met. She loved her family and friends so much.

Helen is survived by her daughter, Terry Terrell Bennett (Edwin) grandson, Kevin Bennett (Meagan) and two great grandchildren, Owen and Olivia Bennett, granddaughter, Lauren Van Sickler (Jordan), Her sister, Imogene Wilbanks: nieces, Diane Hallman, (Tommy), Donna Cundiff (Ron), Harriet Elder, Wanda Moon (Ronnie), Karen Roos, (Fredi), Kim Ramsay (Carter); nephews, Ken Wilbanks and Mike Wilbanks. (Jewel). Her step children, Mike Vandiver (Ruth), Sharon Raborn, (Kenny) and Janice Braswell (Jim).

Due to the pandemic, the family has made Helen’s services and visitation private.

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date when all of her friends and family can gather together.

A private family celebration of Helen’s life will be 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 26, 2020 in the chapel of Bernstein Funeral Home with Rev. Bill Ricketts officiating. Burial will follow at Evergreen Memorial Park.

Private family visitation 1 p.m. until time of service Tuesday at the funeral home. Due to the pandemic, social distancing requirements will apply.

Pallbearers will be Kevin Bennett, Jordan Van Sickler, Keith Bennett, Steve Bennett, Tommy Hallman and Mike Vandiver.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 1848, Longmont, Colorado 80502 or at www.npcf.us.

Psalm 91:11

“For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”

Exodus 23:20

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Kevin Bennett
  • Jordan Van Sickler
  • Keith Bennett
  • Steve Bennett
  • Tommy Hallman
  • Mike Vandiver

Services

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

  • A Celebration of Helen's Life

    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Memories

Helen Louise Terrell Vandiver

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Julie David

May 29, 2020

Ms. Helen had an inner light that came across as warm and inviting. I could see right away why Kevin was so fond of his grandmother. My Mom had an instant connection when they met, and became immediate friends. Helen was loved by her core and extended family and gatherings won’t be the same without her. But we will carry her memory and keep her warm spirit in our hearts forever.

Julie David

Kate Van Sickler

May 26, 2020

My favorite memory of Helen was meeting her for the first time. She was so thrilled for Jordan and Lauren’s wedding. She welcomed Joel and I into her life and into her family - it was like I knew her all my life. She shared my sister Paula’s birthday, and my grandfather’s twin sisters name. We shared our visions of being a grandma and all that entails- hysterically laughing that all we needed to do was pray, love unconditionally and give them back to their parents! We loved having her in Fort Myers- and will treasure the special bond we had forever! Rejoice Helen! Love, Kate

Sandy Dawson

May 24, 2020

I can only hope to be the kind of woman that Helen was. She always had a kind word to say and I am grateful for the time spent with her and her family. We are like minded in our religion and politics and I really enjoyed our conversations together. She was sharp as a whip and a super competitor in cards and dominoes. I will never forget when she hosted Russ and I during parents weekend and made buttermilk pie that we ate at 10:00 at night. We will miss you Helen. Love and prayers to the fam

Dennis Rains

May 24, 2020

Growing up as neighbors to Terry, Tommy, and Helen, I can't begin to list how important the family was to my family over time, just know, Terry, we are very sorry for your loss.

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