April 17, 1937 – November 14, 2017
Rae worked hard her entire life at a variety of jobs ranging from hospital administration to selling mobile homes and commercial construction materials. In the latter part of her professional career, she distinguished herself as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Heating and Air Condition Contractors Association and Mechanical Contractors, Inc. a role that she fulfilled for 28 years. She truly loved working with the contractors and was passionate about providing an excellent annual convention and trade show, producing the monthly trade magazine and providing training classes. The convention she planned and had oversight of was educational, collaborative and a whole lot of fun.
When she retired in 2010 she took great pleasure in planting flowers in her large, well-manicured lawn and enjoying the garden sitting area in her front yard. Daily she would wave at her neighbors as they went to work and returned home. She loved her neighborhood, Shannon Park, and these people loved her and together they formed a real community. She enjoyed taking frequent walks on the street in front of her house and talking to her neighbors. It was not until near the end of her life that her family discovered the depth of this love by the kind and touching stories that these folks shared with us. Not just a few stories, but a multitude of neighbors telling us about how talking with Rae made them feel appreciated and how the attention that she gave them as they shared the events of their day knit their heart with hers. These people loved her and watched over her to ensure that she was protected and unharmed, since she was getting elderly and still living alone, which was her pleasure.
Other activities which provided great joy to Rae was visiting Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she would dance and socialize and truly enjoy herself. The Christmas season was a special time for Rae, who loved sitting in her living room and enjoying her large and fabulously decorated Christmas tree. But, the joy from these activities fell short of the happiness that she derived from her kitty cat “Boots”. He was a loyal companion and a really cool cat, who loved her as much as she loved him.
We found these words regarding the contribution that Flint Hill Baptist Church made to Rae’s development from a funeral document that we discovered in her private papers; “this church its members and its Sunday School, Bible School, BTU teachers along with the Rev. Charlie Myers impacted my life and what I amounted to in life more than any other force other than my Mother, Father, Grandmothers, Uncles and Aunts and relatives from Chester, S.C.” What a wonderful testimony to this church and an example of how loving Christian leaders can teach values that bear fruit in a person’s life for many years to come.
The Helms family will greet friends from 11:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, Saturday the 18th of November 2017 at Flint Hill Baptist Church, Ft.Mill, SC. A service to celebrate the life of Mrs. Helms will follow at 12:00 Noon at the Church. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Rae is survived by her children Chuck Helms (wife, Susan) and Cheryl Harrelson (husband, Victor), grandchildren Jessica Helms and Jonathan Helms, sister Thelma Crump and brother Charles Thomas. She is preceded in death by her parents Malcolm and Mary Thomas, brothers Elmer and Billy Hugh Thomas and her loving kitty Boots.