The Times West Virginian


September 4, 2013

Helen Watkins

Helen Louise Hayhurst Watkins passed away Monday (Sept. 2, 2013) with precious family by her side at United Hospital Center following a brief illness.

She recently celebrated her 87th birthday with a family cookout and a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., where she attended a special show with her all-time favorite “Elvis.”

Helen was born in Fairmont on June 12, 1926, and was the daughter of Ephram E. and Georgia M. Hayhurst, who both preceded her in death. She had one sister and friend, Betty Weimer, who also preceded her in death.

Helen was a graduate of East Fairmont High School and also a graduate of West Virginia Business College. She was employed by the Marion County Board of Education for 23 years as a teacher’s aide at East Dale Elementary kindergarten along with her good friend Glenna Wiles, whom she will join in heaven. Helen loved when out shopping and one of her former “kindergarten” students would say, “Mrs. Watkins ... remember me?”

Helen volunteered for numerous years as a 4-H leader for the community club and also for the county camp. She exemplified the characteristics of 4-H: head, heart, hand and health, which guided her life. She was known to many campers as the craft lady, the camp store manager and more often as the “camp nurse” along with her good friend Peggy Elliott handing out Band-Aids and comforting words during the week-long Camp MarMac under the direction of then-Director Fairy Downs.

Helen’s second family included her many friends at the Sagebrush Round-Up Country Music Show. She never missed a Saturday night nor New Year’s Eve enjoying good country music. Helen will be joining her “monthly dinner ladies” who are all now in heaven together: her dear friends, Edith Hayhurst, Janice Lake and Betty Liller. She loved the Sagebrush House Band and her special ladies in the kitchen who all took time to “chat” before, during and after the shows. Helen enjoyed being known as the “coffee & candy” lady where she welcomed everyone and never met a stranger. Helen was quite proud of having been elected to the position of secretary on the Board of Directors for Sagebrush Country Music at the age of 86 and continued to hold this position until her death. This appointment was indeed the “icing on the cake” for her continued years of support to the Sagebrush.

Helen is survived by four loving daughters and four sons-in-law whom she loved as her very own, Katherine Henderson and husband Floyd of Fairmont, Pam Harris and husband Randy of Asheville, N.C., Lynda Sago and husband Dan of Fairmont, and Susan Hooton and husband Mark of Terra Alta. She loved her grandchildren more than life itself, and loved imparting her “life’s lessons” to these youngsters and to all who came around. She often called the latest nephew her new “roommate” when they lived with her during their college years or summer work.

Granddaughters are Sarah Harris Davis and husband Charlie and Ashley Henderson Mayle and husband Blane. Grandsons are Matthew Harris and fiancée Heather Smith, Chad Hooton and wife Krystin (Nevitt), Bryan Hooton and wife Amber (Roberts) and Jarod Hooton.

Great-grandchildren include Charly and Shelby Davis and Noah and Hallie Hooton, who gave Helen much joy and bragging rights, especially through their visits and latest dance moves, and special niece Brenda Watkins Musgrove and husband Rick.

Helen is also survived by her extended family and very special cousin Ruthie Bryan, who resides in Michigan with her daughter Amy. Mom and Ruthie would call each other to talk each and every day at least once or twice. Aunt Helen had a special love for Amy and Rick Davis and Keith and Carol Bryan and their families, and always looked forward to their “summer visits” to Michigan.

Please remember Helen’s zest for life the next time you hear “Orange Blossom Special” or the lyrics to “Somewhere Between Right and Wrong,” which always brought a smile to her face and was well-known as her favorite requests to all visiting bands.

Please join the family in honoring Helen through memorial donations to Sagebrush Round-Up Country Music, c/o Bill Janoske, 733 Mason School Road, Oakland, MD 21550.

Her family would like to extend their gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff of sixth floor, United Hospital Center, for their kindness and compassion shown to their mom.

A private family graveside service will be held today with Pastor Stephen Wotring officiating. In keeping with Helen’s wishes, we encourage all family, friends and community members to celebrate her love for life and happy times by attending the country music show at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Sagebrush Country Music Round-Up. Donation is $6 at the door. “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure” — our mom was a true gem.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

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