Helen W Starnes

January 29, 1916March 19, 2020

Helen Watson Smith Starnes was born January 29, 1916 in Lincoln County Mississippi and passed away at home in New Orleans on Wednesday, March 19, 2020 at 104 yrs. old.

She moved to Jackson after graduating as valedictorian of Heucks Retreat High School and attended Clarks Business College while working nights at Southern Bell Telephone. After graduating business school she worked at the Robert E. Lee Hotel where she met and married Oscar Daniel Starnes. She enjoyed her work and held executive positions at the Emporium of Jackson and Owens Ltd. retiring at 75 yrs. old In 1991.

She was a long-time member of Epworth Methodist Church. She was an active member of the Pilot Club, The Business and Professional Womens Club and the Jackson Chamber of Commerce.

She was an avid reader and enjoyed travelling and was happy to share her adventures!

In 2002 she moved to New Orleans with her children and enjoyed walking in the French Quarter, dancing on Frenchmen St. and being part of the community. She was proud to hold the title of the Queen of the 2000 Block of Burgundy St.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Edgar and Bessie Bass Smith, five brothers and three sisters and the love of her life, her husband, Oscar Daniel Starnes.

She is survived by her children, Stephen Paul Starnes and Susan Starnes Sims. With the kindest heart and brightest smile she was a hero to many nieces, nephews and friends and was honored to be Mama Helen to her 3 great God grandchildren.

A committal service will be on Monday, March 23 at Lakewood Memorial Park at 11am. Because of current circumstances there will be no visitation.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to The Little Bahala Baptist Church Cemetery, P O Box 55, Wesson, MS 39191-0055.

Please visit for online guestbook.


  • Private Services


Helen W Starnes

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Donald Edwards

March 25, 2020

Helen was always a joy to be around, whether having fun on a cruise, taking in a Mardi Gras parade, watching the Saints, or any time!! We love her dearly. Don & Jimmy

Sandy Nadolny

March 22, 2020

Dear Susan and Stephen,

So sorry to hear of Aunt Helen's passing. Amazingly long life she lived. I remember her smile and the many fun things she did with us when I was young. She will be missed. I'll visit her grave sometime in the future; as I try to visit all the family graves when I am in the Jackson area.

My deepest sympathies and love to you both.

Love, Sandy (Florida niece/cousin)

Becky Smith Gilmore

March 22, 2020

Aunt Helen will missed by so many in our family. All of the brothers, sisters , nieces, nephews, greats and great- greats Will always know she Loved all of us. We all have the memories of all the Christmas Eves together and Thanksgivings Dinners at Deer Camp. Oh, what fun we had.....’

I will Love you always!
(Pete 1930-2008)

Donna Smith

March 22, 2020

Susan and Stephen, my heart is with you. It's so hard to lose our mothers, even if they have lived a long and full life. Aunt Helen was such a big influence on anything she chose to get involved in. I remember her as a role model for many things such as manners, snazzy dressing, and perhaps most importantly, a no nonsense approach to life. I remember as a child attending Smith family functions that could get pretty rowdy when the original nine Smith siblings got together. Aunt Hellen was the calm in the storm! I know you will miss her. We will all hold her memory close and be grateful for the opportunity to have known and loved her.

Brunette & Tommy Arnold

March 22, 2020

So sorry for your loss. With her loss is another library burned down.
My mother was Helen Elam Starnes. My father was Paul Starnes. They were charter members of STA. Our prayers are with you.