Ms. Helen S Richardson

April 1, 1927November 7, 2018

There will be a life well celebrated memorial service on Wednesday, November 21 at 1 pm at the Carolina Memorial Funeral Home Chapel followed by the inurnment for all to attend in loving remembrances of Helen Frances Smith Richardson and support of her family at the Carolina Memorial Park, 7113 Rivers Ave., North Charleston, SC.

In lieu of flowers, the family of Helen Richardson requests that you send donations to Palmetto Bible Camp, PBC Bookkeeper, 126 Chatham Circle, Madison AL, 35758.

Celebration of the life of Grandma Richardson:

Helen Frances Smith Richardson went home to be with her beloved Lord and Savior on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph E. Richardson; her oldest son, Bill Richardson, Sr.; her great-grandson, William Richardson III; her sisters, Anna Katherine Smith and Margaret Hanson; brothers, Lee and Robert Smith; and parents, Ruby D and George S. Smith. Remaining behind to carry on her life example of Christian love and service are her sons, Chuck and Dee Richardson; her daughters, Barbara Smith and Tricia Young; 15 grandkids; 36 great grandkids; and countless church and camp family members whose lives she touched and enriched through her 91 years of living for God while on this earth.

Born on April 1, 1927, Grandma Helen, as she was called by all who knew her in her later years, began her life near Oklahoma City, OK. She was the third child out of six born to Ruby D Lee and George S. Smith. Her first fourteen years were spent enjoying the outside life, roaming their farm with her older brother, Lee.

From an early age, she learned the Bible as God’s Word and of the love of God and at the age of 9, she responded to the gospel message of salvation by putting on Jesus in baptism. She called this day the most important day of her life, the day God washed her sins away and she started her life in Him. She never wavered from this road for the rest of her 82 years.

In 1941, Helen’s family moved to Charleston, SC, so her father could work in the navy ship yard. With six kids and all their stuff loaded in a woody station wagon, Ruby D and George got to Charleston just in time for the bombing at Pearl Harbor. The family settled in Summerville and Helen attended Summerville High School, where she was a star player on the Lady Greenwave basketball team. Upon graduation in 1945, Helen made plans to attend a woman’s college. That plan changed on July 31, 1945, when their family had some guests over for supper—Eugene and Irene Richardson and their son, Ralph, who had just returned from serving as a medic in the Pacific theatre during World War II. As Helen would retell the story years later, she was feeling achy after a typhoid vaccine shot and had decided to skip supper and go to bed when she got home from work. Then she saw this handsome young man who had come to supper and decided maybe she could hang on long enough to eat supper with the family that night. In her words, she found out from that first night of visiting with Ralph that she and Ralph liked a lot of the same things like music and sports. Three months later, on October 20, 1945, Helen and Ralph were married and spent their honeymoon night traveling by Greyhound bus to their first home in Waukegan, IL. While living in Illinois, Helen had her first two children, Bill in September of 1946 and Chuck in April of 1948. She also invited Christians into her home for worship services on Sunday. From that service, a new congregation of the Lord’s church began to grow. Today the church of Christ that first met in her house is a growing, strong church.

In 1950, Ralph and a then-pregnant Helen moved from Illinois back to Charleston, SC, to help care for Ralph’s mom who was sick with cancer. Ralph and Helen settled in North Charleston and lived in the same house for the rest of their lives together. Their daughter, Barbara, was born in Roper Hospital in March of 1951. Son Dee would follow in 1955 and daughter Tricia would come in 1960. This would complete the core family, but many more children and others would also live in their house over the years when the needs arose: foster children; friends needing a place to live to get their lives together; untold numbers of young service men and others who needed a home away from home; and every Sunday, new members or visitors from church that were invited for Sunday lunch.

For the remainder of her life, Helen would spend her days raising and encouraging her family from her home in North Charleston. She and Ralph worked together tirelessly with the church of Christ in Charleston—first at Riverside downtown, then at Durant Avenue, and then at the North Charleston church of Christ. Their lives revolved around their physical family and church family. Helen was a secretary at the church for a time in the 60’s and 70’s and then went on to work at Recaps Incorporated along with her husband. They both retired from there in 1989.

In the late 1950’s, Helen began working in the summers with Carolina Bible Camp in North Carolina. This began a passion for serving, loving, and teaching young people through the Bible Camp experience. In 1966, this passion continued at Palmetto Bible Camp, an endeavor begun by a core group of Christian men, including her husband, Ralph. She continued to work at and for PBC until her health prevented her from attending camp at about the age of 88. Through her work with the camp, countless thousands of young people experienced the love of Christ firsthand through her example and work there.

During sad times in her life, her faith did not waiver. Her oldest son, Bill, passed away unexpectedly in 1982 while stationed in Okinawa, Japan. She served and loved on. Her husband passed away in his sleep while working at Palmetto Bible Camp in 1992. Helen continued her work with PBC and with the church at North Charleston, never failing to encourage the Family and be actively involved in the activities and service there. Her great-grandson, William, passed at a young age two years ago, bringing her a heavy heart. But she worked to encourage those left behind.

While we mourn deeply not having her with us any longer, we know that she is singing loudly with her husband, loved ones, and the other saints around God’s throne. In life, her aging voice, once a lovely alto, had grown cracked and roughened. As she said, it was like gravel in her throat. Now she sings clear and loud the song of praise she loved so much while here on earth.

Sing on, Grandma Helen. May we live in Jesus so we can have the hope to sing along with you one great day.


  • Memorial Services at Carolina Memorial Funeral Home Chapel. 7713 Rivers Ave., North charleston Wednesday, November 21, 2018
  • Inurnment to follow in the Carolina Memorial Park Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ms. Helen S Richardson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Doris Akers

November 10, 2018

When my family, J. C. Gregory, moved to Georgetown in January, 1951, from Virginia your dad Brother George Smith was starting a congregation of The Church of Christ there and we started going there. I was 14 and we had many meals after church with Miss Helens parents. We met Helen and Ralph several times while living there and had singings and get togethers on many occasions. Royce and I have so many wonderful memories of Ralph and Helen at Carolina Bible Camp and at Palmetto Bible Camp. Miss Helen was a true inspiration to all the staff and campers for many years. She and Miss Mary were PBC. We love you Miss Helen.
Doris and Royce Akers

Caroline (Price) Sparrow

November 10, 2018

What a treasure Heaven has gained! Thank you for being such an inspiration to all! Your “howdy” will live forever!

Linda Calara

November 9, 2018

Ms Helen will always have a special place in my heart. Ms Helen studied with my mom, who could not read, but Ms Helen managed to teach her the Bible, and then mom was baptized, our dear Lord sent a special person to us so mom could be saved and that was ms Helen. I know my mom was not only one she taught to see the truth, so many it hard to count.

On a funny side of the story she taught me how to make grits at camp one year.

Thank you ms Helen for being you.

Love and prayers to her family.

Linda Calara

Lesia Mitchell

November 9, 2018

Brother Helen , as she was affectionately called in the years that I knew her, was a quiet leader who helped with us as we were training to be life guards by Miss Mary. But she had lots of spunk at Bible camp and would take time to talk to anyone that needed encouragement. She always participated in the sports activities! She told me on numerous occasions what a great man my dad was!! Her and my uncle Jerry had a great time being the white glove inspectors, literally, because we girls were just that competitive! I can’t say the same for the boys! There was never a doubt that she was a women of God! Go rest with all those gone ahead of you for you have a mansion built just for you!

Sandra Dee

November 9, 2018

Ms Helen was a magnificent Christian woman and had a great influence on so many lives. This is especially true of us and our children. We have so many wonderful memories with her. My children still talk of her famous “soup” made from leftovers and pot liquor. We are all better people for knowing her and watching her example. Heaven has gained an extra special angel and she will be greatly missed by us and our children.

Mary Creech

November 9, 2018

Helen Richardson my sister in Christ lived a Godly life, what an example to all who knew her🙏 I am who I am today because of her influence, teaching me how to live daily in Christ, Truly a virtuous woman. She & Ralph are joined together again💕 Your memory will live on❤️

Shawna Whitlatch

November 9, 2018

Grandma Helen was a very special lady to me. I’ve known her my whole life and will cherish every memory I have with her. My favorite memories are when we were at camp I would come up to Grandma Helen and just sit and talk to her for hours. I love you Grandma Helen and can’t wait to see you again in heaven ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Sara Bellville

November 9, 2018

Ms. Helen
You have been such a great Christian example to everyone you meet. I can remember on every Thanksgiving when you and some other family's would take your dinner to the church and share your meals with the ones that had no where to go. After dinner you all would have game time and you loved your volley ball.
You well be missed by everyone I Love You I know are up there just singing your song.

LeAnne Horning - Bogstad

November 8, 2018

So many beautiful memories of Ms Helen & Mr Ralph . She loved unconditionally and will always be cherished and loved.
Thankful for that summer day in 1976 when she led me to Christ.
I smile when I think of her in that Hat and her “HOWWWWWDY” Love, LeAnne

Mary Bullock

November 8, 2018

Dearest Sis Helen, You are a true hero to all of us who have known you through the years as you are a champion at the ways & characteristics of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Your precious parents spent many hours in Georgetown preaching & teaching as our first minister of the church here. My Mother adored them as we all did. And through the years I spent hours at your & Bro Ralph's home as a teen & during sickness of my family members in Charleston hospitals. My children loved you at PBC & learned much from you. Enjoy your heavenly home dear Sister & friend in Christ. Loving Christian woman who spent her entire life loving and serving the Lord. Mary Bullock Miller, Georgetown/Hemingway SC