Andrel Andy Knox Helms

April 22, 1934June 13, 2013
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Andrel K. Helms departed this life on June 13, 2013, from complications of a stroke. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond Earl and Mary Starnes Helms; and his sister, Margie Tyson. He was born on April 22, 1934 in Lancaster County, SC. Surviving are his devoted wife, Rosemary, as well as his faithful brother, Capt. Raymond E. Helms Jr., USN, Retired, as well as several nieces, nephews and in-laws.

Andy led a very interesting and productive life. After graduating from Clemson University and the Institute of Textile Technology with a master’s degree in Textile Engineering, he entered the U.S. Air Force, where he learned to fly and navigate the military aircraft of the day. After active duty, he continued reserve duty for 17 years, flying out of Andrews Air Force Base until he retired as Lt. Colonel in 1980. He attended the Air Force Command Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, receiving a diploma in National Security Management. During his 20 year career, he received several commendation awards and ribbons for his faithful service.

Andy had a long-term career with Dow Chemical, Dow Badische, and BASF in Williamsburg. He rose from textile engineer to Product Group Director for synthetic fibers and yarns. In 1986, he retired and made a personal pledge to visit areas of the world he had not yet seen. Over his adult years, he visited every country in the world, over 200, and all seven continents. It was a truly unusual and remarkable feat that required tenacity, elements of danger and guile. As larger countries formed by war treaties broke into smaller ones, he went back to visit those, too. Rosemary enjoyed travel and was along for most of the adventures. Andy’s distinguished bearing and western hats always drew attention and often elicited a “Hello, John Wayne.” from locals.

Duplicate bridge was another passion. He played in many tournaments locally and throughout the U.S. and Canada with his long-term bridge partner, Dianne Morton. He achieved Silver Life Master and never lost his love of the game.

Andy’s last two months of life were spent with special people who did their utmost to help him. He was very grateful to the doctors, nursing staff and therapists at Sentara Williamsburg, Second North and South; Riverside Rehabilitation Institute; and Woodhaven Hall at Williamsburg Landing, who cared for him until his last moments of life.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 11:00 AM at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Rd., Williamsburg, with interment following at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Andy requested that donations be made to, which provides all-terrain track wheelchairs to veteran amputees so they may enjoy the great outdoors, or to


  • Memorial Service Saturday, June 22, 2013
  • Interment Friday, June 21, 2013

Andrel Andy Knox Helms

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June 13, 2014

Dear Rosie,
Just to let you know that Annmarie and I and Joseph and Nicole are all offering up prayers in remembrance of Andy on this anniversary of his passing.

Fernando Bravo

July 7, 2013

Dear Rosemary, I am deeply sorry for your loss. Tu sabes que cuentas conmigo. Tu amigo, Fernando.

Carita Connors

June 30, 2013

Rosemary, I was so sorry to hear of Andy's passing. *lease know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Bert Stewart

June 25, 2013

Rosemary - Andy has been my friend for 44 years. First as a fellow navigator at Andrews AFB and later during my visits to Williamsburg. Andy had many adventures and was a fighter and a gentleman to the very end. He will be missed.

June 22, 2013

Rosemary - I have you in my thoughts and prayers from St. Louis. I am so sorry for your loss. Jan Mathews

Lyn Cini

June 21, 2013

Deepest sympathy. Enjoyed knowing Andy in the Bridge group. We are out of town at present so will miss the service.

Marylee McGregor

June 20, 2013

Rosemary, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Please know that you are in my thoughts. I know you have many friends who have faced this journey and will the there to help you through it.

Kathy Michel

June 20, 2013

Not only was Andy my Brother-in-law,he was also a friend. We shared many a laugh and an occasional "difference of opinion" or according to Andy, a debate. I will truely miss him and my many trips to Williamsburg to visit the Helms will never be the same.
As a wise man said, believe in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
He is now on a journey that can only be imagined.

Theresa & Fred Bender

June 19, 2013

Rosemary, our sincere condolences. He was a wonderful person and a super bridge player. He will be missed by all his Williamsburg bridge friends.

June 19, 2013

I was deeply saddened with the passing of my old colleague. Rosemary, please accept my sincere condolences. Don Duguid