OBITUARY

Helen Ledford Robinson

May 27, 1924September 19, 2019
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Helen Robinson

Helen L. Robinson, 95 of Rosemount Minnesota passed away gracefully on Thursday September 19, 2019 at Southdale Hospital Edina, Minnesota. She was surrounded by her loving children at the time of her passing.

A native of Georgia she was the daughter of the late Ezra Valentine and Myrle Ann Cole Ledford. She was born May 27, 1924 at the family home in McCaysville, Georgia.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, James A. Robinson; brothers James Hugh and Clyde Ledford; and sisters Wilmuth Nichols, Ruth Bailey, Willard Duke and Maxine D. Johnson.

Helen attended schools in Copperhill, Tennessee and McCaysville, Georgia. She was a member of the first graduating class of McCaysville High School. She received further education at Tennessee Wesleyan College where she obtained a teaching certificate. Helen taught third grade for a year in the McCaysville School District. She worked at a bank in McCaysville as a clerk and teller. She worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority in Copperhill and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Helen worked as a para in the Shawnee Mission School District, Overland Park, Kansas. In Jackson, Mississippi she was employed by Willowwood Developmental Center and Broadmoor Baptist Church. In her 60’s, while living in Marshalltown, Iowa, she became a successful Mary Kay Consultant.

Helen was a member of Ridgedale Baptist Church and the Friendship Sunday School Class. She was a long-time member of the Women’s Missionary Union and sang in church choirs wherever she attended. Her fondest memories are singing in the senior Gospel Choir at Ridgedale Church.

Survivors include sons James L. (Patricia) Robinson, of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Donald H. (Dawn) Robinson of Knoxville, Tennessee; four grandsons, Kyle (Stephanie) Robinson, Andrew (Lexi) Robinson, Ryan Robinson, and Tyler Robinson; four great-grandchildren, Brooks, Sadie, Jackson and Rylie Robinson; niece Christine Lindsey; and nephews Steven and Robert Johnson.

Funeral services will be held Monday, September 30, 2019 at 11:30 AM in the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory & Florist, 8214 East Brainerd Road Chattanooga, TN 37421. Burial will follow at Chattanooga National Cemetery. The family will receive visitors from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Lauren Windhorst and the staff of caregivers at The Rosemount Care Center, Rosemount, Minnesota.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.

Please share your thoughts and memories at www.ChattanoogaEastBrainerdChapel.com.

Services

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Receiving Friends Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, September 30, 2019

OTHER SERVICES:

  • Interment

Memories

Helen Ledford Robinson

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Jim Robinson

September 27, 2019

I am going to miss Helen more than words can describe. Besides being a wonderful mother-in-law she was a great friend. I usually introduced her as my mother-in-love. I will do my best, Helen to continue your heritage of prayer and love to the next generations. You left us a wonderful heritage and I will treasure the times we had in these last six years; car rides on the way to church, eating chicken pot pie, and singing hymns around the piano at The Rosemount. Most of all, I will remember your courage in facing the aging process and the delight you displayed when you were with the great grandchildren.

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Biography

Helen Ledford Robinson was born at her family home in McCaysville, Georgia as were her siblings Wilmuth, Ruth, Willard, Clyde, Maxine, and James. Helen frequently shared with her family fond memories of her childhood, especially time she spent with her sisters whom she was very close to. They would spend hours playing paper dolls gluing them to cardboard. They made their own doll house and furniture by cutting up and folding cardboard. The Ledford family was a musical family as they spent many hours each week around the piano singing. It was this love of music that led Helen to sing in church choirs for over 60 years. On several occasions Helen had the opportunity to be part of the Billy Graham Crusade choir team in the 1960’s and she would replay memories of these experiences with her sons for years. She loved the rich baritone voices of George Beverly Shea and Tennesse Ernie Ford singing gospel songs and would listen to those songs on the stereo her entire adult life. Her son, Don especially remembers being wakened on Sunday mornings to these tunes playing loudly on the stereo.

Helen was raised in a loving environment where putting Christ first and devotion to regular Bible reading was modeled. Her mother was a confidant to many, and a prayer counselor before such titles were given to people. Helen shared recollections of her mother sitting at her kitchen table quietly listening and praying with women in distress. Helen wanted to follow Christ because of the example of her mother whose love for God was evident. Her mother was hardworking, prayerful and wise. Helen’s father was quiet, methodical and emotionally steady. She never once heard her father speak ill of another person or raise his voice and yell. He did not drive a car but walked to work at the Tennessee Copper Company where he worked for fifty years as a railroad engineer and office worker. Her father was a deacon and city Counselman. He was a member of the local school board and instrumental in the formation of McCaysville High School where Helen was a member of the first graduating class. While in high school, Helen had the lead in drama productions and aspired to become an actress or movie star. With her blonde hair, good looks and ready smile, we think she could have made it if the opportunities had presented themselves.

In 1943-44 Helen attended Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens, Tennessee where she received a teaching certificate. Helen liked to tell stories about working in the college dormitory to offset the $500.00 per year tuition. She was so detailed and timely in the work assigned to her (following the example her mother set) that the housemother granted her the exemption of washing of the pots and pans as well as scrubbing the stairwell steps. While at Tennessee Wesleyan she was voted May Queen, an honor bestowed on her by the popular vote of her peers.

The Ledford’s were neighbors to a man who owned the local bank. In the summers between college, Helen worked at the bank. She loved filing checks and making certain the ledger and statement papers matched the customers checks. She liked the work so much, she returned to it after a year of teaching. Even in her last years, Helen found joy in balancing her checkbook to the penny.

She taught 3rd grade for a year in a country school near McCaysville. Many of the children needed help with hygiene and basic living skills. Helen was a kind and loving helper to those children. She told the story of a little boy who came to school in need of a bath. She gave him soap and water and helped him wash up. She then praised him for looking good. He never came to school dirty again. She was a wise young woman who understood encouragement was a more effective tool than discipline or shame.

Helen often traveled to Chattanooga to visit her sister Wilmuth. While attending church with Wilmuth, Helen met a tall, handsome man during a Training Union Service named Jim. Jim would travel on Sundays to McCaysville to visit Helen arriving just in time to take her to church. Helen lived with her parents until her marriage to Jim on June 10, 1950 in McCaysville.

As newlyweds, Jim and Helen lived in Chattanooga, TN., where Helen was employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority as a clerk. It was during her time at TVA that she was given the nickname Blondie by her coworkers. Helen became a mother to Jim on Sept 10, 1954. Born with a club foot, Jim had many health challenges which Helen helped him overcome. She would provide physical therapy each night until he was six, working to straighten his foot. Because of her perseverance, Jim was able to play sports and enjoy a life free of physical disability.

In 1959, Jim and Helen moved to Overland Park, Kansas, where Don was born on September 11th. Both Don and Jim routinely talked about how much of an encourager Helen was to them and raised them believing that they could tackle any challenge, climb any mountain and achieve whatever they set their minds to if they were willing to work hard enough. It was this sense of work ethic that started with Helen’s mother and was passed down to Helen and then to her sons and grandkids. Jim and Helen attended Nall Avenue Baptist Church. Eighty-eight members from Nall Avenue planted Emmanuel Baptist Church. The church thrives today.

Helen and Jim moved to Springfield, Missouri in 1967 when Jim (a paint chemist) began a new job opportunity which unfortunately didn’t work out. After two years, they moved back to Overland Park in 1969. Helen worked as a para in the Shawnee Mission School District for many years where she was beloved by students and faculty alike. In 1974, Jim and Helen relocated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for one year. Afterwards, Jim made a job change and the family moved to Jackson, Mississippi where Helen worked in a school for children with special needs. She was also employed at her church as a daycare worker.

When Jim and Helen moved to Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1977 Helen became a Mary Kay salesperson. She made many new friends in Mary Kay and was successful, having several $600.00 shows. Jim and Helen were blessed in 1983 with their first of their 4 grandchildren. Whenever her grandchildren visited, she was always quick to stop what she was doing and focus her attention and time in playing with her grand kids. She would get on her hands and knees and crawl around the floor playing with them and they loved her for it. She longed to spend time with her family, and whenever they were together, they could feel her special love towards them.

After many moves, Helen longed to return to the state of Tennessee. In 2000, she and Jim were able to return to and retire in Chattanooga. They enjoyed their time serving in their church at Ridgedale Baptist and living close to Jim’s sister Ruth. It was during these retirement years that they celebrated 60 plus years of marriage. In 2011 her beloved Jim left this world to enter glory with his Lord and Savior.

Helen moved to Minnesota in 2013 so that her family could spend more time with her. Helen spent her entire life praying for her husband, children, grandchildren and her great grandkids. Praying to her Savior was a daily and constant part of the essence of Helen. She was a “prayer warrior” for her family and on every phone conversation she would always ask about each family member and say that she was praying for each and every one of her sons, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and we all knew that she meant it and lived it out. She was faithful to always pray for each member of her family to succeed and overcome their challenges and stay true to the LORD.

Helen was an incredible cook which was passed down by her mother. She focused on cooking large portion, comfort food meals with fresh bread. She loved to bake desserts and always had either a pie or a cake on the kitchen counter to top off and complete her meals. Her love of baking was amazing as she never missed a birthday or special holiday without baking a made from scratch cake for her family.

Helen was a faithful wife, wonderful mother, an engaged grandmother, and a mentor to her daughters in laws. She never judged us but lived in a way to show us the WAY- to Jesus. Helen’s legacy of praying and singing was evident and passed down to her children. As she passed from this life, she was surrounded by her children who sang hymns, read scripture, and prayed her into glory.

Helen had some “sayings” that will stay with us. Here are a few:
- When taking a small bite of dessert Helen would say: “Why, I wouldn’t dirty my mouth for that little bit of food.”
- Whenever a chore was done incorrectly, Helen would have you go back and do it again by saying: “Now, son you will need to go lick that calf over again”.
- When leaving us she would always say: “Now you behave yourself!” She inquired of us: “Is that husband or wife of yours behaving themselves?”
- She was always focused on others. Each conversation began with “How are the boys?” “How is your mom?”

Helen saw many changes in her life. When she was born, postage was 2 cents. Calvin Coolidge was President. She lived through World War 2, Vietnam, Women’s Rights, and the first moon landing. Her contemporaries were George Bush, Don Knotts (Andy Griffin), and Lauren Bacall. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade occurred the year of her birth. Yet through it all a few things never changed. Her love for God and others remained faithful and she left us with a legacy worthy to be passed to our children and grandchildren. She lived out Psalm 78:4: “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders”.

As you have just read, Helen was a very special wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many. She was so committed to Christ and left an incredible legacy of prayer and living out the words and instruction of the Bible with her family. We miss her and long to be reunited with her one day in glory! I will appropriately conclude with Helen’s favorite life bible verse which was Proverbs 3: 5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”.