Helen Craig Watkins Harrison, 98, of 1110 Marshall Road, widow of Lewis C. Harrison, passed away peacefully on January 5, 2020, surrounded by her family. Born in Greenwood, she was the daughter of Helen Craig and John Mauldin Watkins.
She was a graduate of Greenwood High School, and Lander College in 1943. During World War II, she worked with the Department of the Navy in New York City. Returning to Greenwood, she taught and served as Dean of girls at Greenwood High School before and after her marriage in 1948. Mrs. Harrison taught English, History, and Reading to many, many students throughout her teaching career. She was also a volunteer with the Greenwood Literacy Association, feeling that student’s ability to read was tantamount to success in life. She took a personal interest in her students, tutoring many of them in her home. Helen was a volunteer for the first Hospice program in Greenwood in the mid 1980’s.
Mrs. Harrison was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, where she served as the second woman elected Elder. Teaching into her nineties, Helen’s knowledge of the Bible and her quick wit made her a favorite among Sunday school teachers.
Helen was an avid tennis player from childhood until age eighty. A determined traveler, she counted Alaska, Israel, China and Hong Kong as her most exciting trips. In 2000 and 2002, she treated her children and several grandchildren to a trip to Europe, teaching the history of the larger world to them. She loved to entertain, host parties, drop-ins, bridge clubs, and ladies circles in her home, always warm and inviting to the guest, neighbor or family member. Helen was an accomplished gardener adding to the ambience of her home. She never met a stranger, and was truly an eternal optimist.
Helen’s adventuresome spirit and her keen desire to keep on learning led her to taking flying lessons at the age of 65, with the encouragement of her brother. She enjoyed the game of bridge and played often. In 2006, her daughters nominated her for South Carolina Mother of the Year. “Mimi” loved her family, her friends, her church, her students, and Greenwood. She was a fun-loving, gentle spirit with a magnanimous generosity who did not allow herself to grow old. She loved to cook, watched Lawrence Welk faithfully, and will be remembered for her gifts of food, notes to many, and most of all her unselfish kindness to her many friends and family. She and Lewis were devoted to each other for over sixty years of marriage. She will be greatly missed.
Helen is survived by three daughters, Helen O. Harrison of Johns Creek, GA, Jane H. Keperling (Bob) of Anderson, SC, Margaret H. Neely of Gastonia, NC. Also surviving, are her brother John M. Watkins, Jr. (Mary), nine grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her infant son, Lewis Clark Harrison, Jr and a son-in-law, Thomas M. Neely.
A celebration of life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. Saturday followed by a reception in the fellowship hall. A private burial will be held in Upper Long Cane Cemetery in Abbeville, SC.
It is requested that flowers be omitted and memorials be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of the Piedmont, 408 W. Alexander Ave., Greenwood, SC 29646 or the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwood, PO Box 426, Greenwood, SC 29648.
The family wishes to express a very special word of gratitude to Ella Cook, Dr. John Holman, and Mr. Taylor Stokes for their years of loving care and tireless assistance to our parents.
For online condolences, visit www.blythfuneralhome.com
Blyth Funeral Home & Cremation Services is assisting the Harrison family.