Helen M. Huntley
Helen M. Huntley
  • January 13, 1920 - September 1, 2017
  • Charlotte, North Carolina

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Helen Moss Huntley of Charlotte, NC passed away peacefully Friday Sept. 1, 2017 at the age of 97. A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, Sept. 16, at 1:00 pm at Southminster Retirement Center in the Great Room with a reception following.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, James R. Huntley of Monroe, NC. She is survived by her five children: Richard Huntley (Loretta) of Monroe, NC; Rebecca Vaughn (Gerald) of Charlotte; Dennis Huntley (Virginia)of Shelby, NC; Donald Huntley (Deborah) of Roswell, GA; and Anita Bennett (Rusty) of Indian Trail, NC and by ten grandchildren: Scott Gordon, Kevin Gordon, Jeffrey Gordon, Pam Calloway, Jason Huntley, Lauren Huntley, Emily Manchester, Drew Huntley, Regina Bennett (Nichols), and Marian Bennett; two step-grandchildren: Julia Flaherty and Logan Vaughn; eight greatgrandchildren, five step-greatgrandchildren, and one little spoiled rotten dog, Suzie.
Helen was born January 13, 1920, in Ardmore, South Dakota to the late Opal and Melvin Moss. Her father ran an experimental farming homestead on the remote Nebraska border when he died of pneumonia. Helen was 2 years old and her youngest brother was 4 days old. Her mother then moved with the 6 small children to Rock Hill, SC so her sister Minnie, a biology professor at Winthrop, could assist with the raising of the children while she worked. Helen grew up attending Winthrop Training School, then majored in art and education at Winthrop College. It was there that she was introduced to Jim Huntley and after teaching briefly, married him and went with him to New York where he was an engineer at the Grumman airplane plant during the war. After the war, they moved back to his home town Monroe where he started a tool and die manufacturing company and she raised her five children. When grandchildren followed, she entertained them at the summer home in Roaring Gap with art and pottery lessons, golfing, swimming and hiking on Stone Mountain, creating memories that are treasured by each of the adult grandchildren.
After her husband's death, Helen moved to Sun City Center, FL and became involved in the larger art community in Bradenton, FL. She loved to travel to foreign countries on art workshops, sitting in place for days, painting whole books of the local scenes and becoming part of the scenery. Nineteen years ago, she moved to Southminster in Charlotte to be closer to her children. She continued with her art while living there and became active at First Presbyterian Church. Singing was one of her great joys. (She knew all the words to all the songs.) She was an avid gardener and planted a beautiful garden for all to enjoy outside her apartment. Her summers included family annual reunions at the beach. She was also a vicious scrabble player. She sucked in many an opponent with "Be nice to me, I'm just a dyslexic little old lady."
Throughout her life, Helen persevered in her study of art even though it was sometimes derided as "useless." Her passion was fueled by her indomitable spirit. She created and studied to improve her gift, sharing her prolific talents with everyone throughout her life. She was still taking ceramics classes at CPCC when she was 94. She was skillful at every media she tried: watercolors, acrylics, oils, siversmithing, cloisonné, furniture painting, murals, and pottery. Her whimsical sculptures often depicted the nursery rhymes of her youth. Her beautiful work can be seen in the design of the rose window of Central Methodist Church in Monroe. Her ceramic mural decorates the wall of the Sun City Florida swimming pool center. She painted murals on the walls (including bathrooms) of Southminster as well as the construction barriers of First Presbyterian's remodel. Shepard Center and others were settings for her classes. Her family, friends, and friends of friends all benefitted from her talent. She was so relentless in her creative passion that one would not want to stand too long in front of her unless one wanted to become part of the canvas. She was alternately described as sweet, feisty, determined, and engaging. She taught, learned and gave through her art. Her life was full and she made her mark.
The family would like to thank the staff at Southminster for their loving care during Helen's illness. Also, a big thank you goes to the staff of Hospice of Charlotte. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of Charlotte, Southminster Community Fund or a charity of choice. McEwen Funeral Home of Monroe is serving the family of Mrs. Huntley