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Helen Gardner Wilson
July 23, 1934 ~ November 9, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
15 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Helen's family - View on Tribute Wall
Helen Gardner Wilson, known to many as “Tennie,” 89, passed away peacefully at her home in Tarboro, NC on November 9, 2023.
Visitation will be held at Carlisle Funeral Home at 1 pm on Saturday November 11, 2023 followed by a graveside service at Edgecombe Memorial Park at 2pm.
Helen was born in Edgecombe county on the Carr farm in 1934 to Jessie and Mittie Whitley. She was proceeded in death by her first husband; Amos Monroe Gardner of over 50 years; her second husband, Leon Albright Wilson of 3 years; and five older brothers; Rufus, Melvin, Clifton, Owen, and James.
Helen is survived by her daughter, Tammy Smith and husband, Sam Smith; grandchildren, Ryan West, Harlie Harris and husband, Rusty Harris, all of Tarboro. Helen was able to hear news of a great grandchild on the way before she passed, whom she loved dearly without ever meeting. She also had many friends, nieces, and nephews.
On May 22, 1990, Helen started her morning off as usual by commuting to her job as a technician in the Network Design Department in Tarboro. After parking her car on a public road, she began her walk to the office. A car traveling the wrong direction during slippery conditions jumped the curb, pinning Helen against a cement wall, crushing her feet and ankles.
Doctors immediately rushed her into surgery, but her injuries were so severe that amputation and artificial limbs were recommended. Helen would accept nothing of the sort. Later the same day she was transferred to another hospital in Greenville, NC where she would then spend two months undergoing 5 separate operations to save her legs. Even after developing gangrene, various bone infections, and a collapsed lung, she never gave up her fight. Two months and two days later, Helen went home by ambulance. Her physical therapy would begin 8 months after she arrived home, and even after saving her legs, doctors only gave her a 10% chance of walking again. Little did they know, Helen possessed an amount of determination and will power that was unmatched.
On May 28 1991, Helen returned to Carolina Telephone, by wheelchair, to get back to work. Continuing physical therapy and being monitored by her doctors, she never gave up her fight to walk. On October 3, 1991 she took her first steps without assistance. From that day, Helen continued to walk on her same legs, but not without complications, right up until she passed.
Helen eventually retired from the phone company after 20 years of dedicated service. She returned briefly in 1999 as a contractor. After retirement, Helen spent most of her time with family and friends, but she also loved to travel. In 2003 she graduated from interior design school. She would then use her knowledge to remodel and decorate her own homes as a hobby. Helen was also a member of the Garden Club in Tarboro and the St. James United Methodist Church.