Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Longtime Resident of Clay Dies at 82; She and Husband Ran Pioneer Funeral Home

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Longtime Resident of Clay Dies at 82; She and Husband Ran Pioneer Funeral Home

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

Martein G. Lewis Helm, a longtime Green Cove Springs resident who, with her husband, founded the city's first funeral home in the 1960s, died Feb. 9 after a long illness.

Mrs. Helm, 82, died at the Health Care Pavilion in the Penney Retirement Community of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

She was a 41-year resident of Green Cove Springs, having moved there from Lakeland in 1961 to establish Helm Funeral Home with her husband, the late Charles L. Helm, who died last year.

Over the last four years, Mrs. Helm's normally gregarious personality had been sapped by the effects of Alzheimer's, said her daughter, Ginger Caustic. But Mrs. Helm will be remembered as a "vivacious" woman who was active in her church and in the community and quick to help others, she said.

"She was very outgoing," Caustic said. "She was a very small, petite woman, but she could outwalk anybody and outtalk anybody."

Mrs. Helm was a native of Avon Park and grew up outside Plant City, in the area known as Turkey Creek. At 14, she was orphaned and taken in by her aunts. She was a 1940 graduate of Plant City High School and a graduate of Camp Roosevelt, a vocational school in Ocala where she became a certified dietician.

In 1941, she came to Green Cove Springs to work as a dietician for the Qui-Si-Sana Hotel, built in the early 1900s. Until its 2002 demolition, the hotel was a hotspot and a downtown landmark. She and Charles Helm were introduced by a mutual friend.

"The men were taking bets about who was going to take out that cute little redhead," Caustic said. "She wouldn't go out with him [Helm] the first time he asked. The second time they went to a USO dance . . . Three weeks later they had a marriage certificate."

They married in 1941 and moved to Lakeland. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.