Helen E. Joyner

Published 2:35 pm Tuesday, January 1, 2019

FRANKLIN — Helen Elizabeth Williams Joyner, 103, widow of the late John Rodger Joyner, passed away on Dec. 28, 2018.

Helen E. Joyner

Helen Elizabeth was a native of Southampton County, and the eighth of nine children born to the late Thomas and Anna Douglas Williams on April 5, 1915.

She was also predeceased in death by her eight siblings, Robert, Mary, Daisy, Charles, Gladys, Henry, Walter and Reese. 

 She was a 1935 graduate of Hayden High School, and was recently recognized as the “Oldest Living Graduate” at a Hayden High School Reunion Breakfast on Aug. 11.

She attended Virginia State College taking courses in food handling and money management, and worked as a cafeteria manager in the Southampton County School system. In addition, she worked as a summer camp dietitian at Virginia State College and in school-sponsored camps in Connecticut. She also volunteered at the East Pavilion for 15 years where the staff still fondly remembers her.

Helen Elizabeth joined St. John’s AME Zion Church in 1932, which was later named St. Mary’s AME Zion Church located in Sebrell, Virginia. As a member, she served as a youth coordinator, secretary, deaconess, Sunday School superintendent, trustee and anything else except the pastor. The church fellowship hall was dedicated to her and named the Joyner Hall. Her unwavering devotion to her church was unrivaled.

During her long life she came to know many people she called friend and to her credit, she too was also highly regarded. Her beautiful spirit touched the lives of many.

Left to cherish her memory are nieces, Homezelle Chambers, Wanda Chambers and Margaret Dalton; numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; caregivers, Jennifer Mitchell and Tonya Hunter-Mills and her daughter, A’sya Milteer; very dear friends, Verta Jackson, Walter Hunt and a host of others as well as individuals she adopted, Fredrick “Sonny” Anderson, Marcellette Wiggins and Catherine Britt.

The homegoing celebration will be on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 11 a.m., in Zion Southampton AME Zion Church, 17121 Wakefield Road, Courtland, Virginia, with Pastor Felecia Johnson of St. Mary’s, officiating; the Rev. Dr. Christopher Eason, church pastor.

Viewing will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m on Friday in Engram Funeral Home, 1001 Armory Drive, Franklin, and beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday in the church. To honor Mrs. Joyner, it is requested that everyone attending wear pink accessories. Burial will be in the Butts Cemetery, Courtland.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Mary AME Zion Church, 17524 River Road, P.O. Box 125, Courtland, VA 23837.