Betty Helms

Betty Presnell Helms (Presnell)

Thursday, September 6th, 1934 - Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
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Betty Presnell Helms, 84, of Salem, passed away on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, with family by her side.

She was born to the late Robert and Clara (Young) Presnell on September 6, 1934, in Asheville, N.C. Betty graduated from Burnsville High School in 1952 and received a BS in Education from Appalachian State Teacher’s College in 1956. She married Alex Helms in 1959 at Newdale Presbyterian Church near Burnsville, and they lived together in North Carolina and Virginia, where she worked as an elementary teacher before relocating to Salem in 1962.

Betty was a dedicated educator her entire life and worked as a favorite substitute teacher for many years in the local school systems. She loved books and was a voracious reader of fiction, especially any works focused on southern culture. She was devoted to her three sons and cherished her time with her grandchildren. More than anything, she was proud of her mountain heritage and spent many fine hours with her ‘mountain folk’ relatives in Yancey County, N.C. In addition to her family, Betty will be missed by the many dear friends she made and the lives she touched through her volunteer and committee work at Salem’s First United Methodist Church.

Betty is survived by her husband, Alex; and her three sons, Robert Helms of Salem, Marion Helms of Roanoke, and Will Helms (Mary Goeninger) of Ely, Minn. She is also survived by five well-loved grandchildren, Sam, Cole, Phoebe, Patrick, and Gavin Helms.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, at the First United Methodist Church in Salem.

Donations may be made to one of the outreach programs sponsored by the First United Methodist Church located at 125 West Main Street in Salem, Va. 24153. Online condolences may be expressed at
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Service Details

  • Service

    Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 | 2:00pm
    Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 2:00pm
    First United Methodist Church
    125 West Main Street
    Salem, Virginia 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Chris Vest

Posted at 02:52pm
To Merv and all of the Helms family please accept my condolences at this difficult time. Chris

Thomas Widgeon

Posted at 06:47pm
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