Thursday, May 26, 2022

Helen Turlington Rawls, 87, former high school science teacher

Helen Turlington Rawls

WILMINGTON — Helen Turlington Rawls, 87, passed on from this life on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Her last days were spent in the loving care of the kind souls at Davis Community Memory Care, Wilmington.

Helen was born Jan. 28, 1933, to Chellie and William Turlington and was soon joined by two brothers, Robert “Bobby” and William “Billy,” who all grew up in Jacksonville. Her father was a busy general practice doctor and her mom was a disciplined homemaker and smart investor. She loved to tell stories of her father and the people she grew up around there and Swansboro, where they had a house on the salt water.

She attended Peace College in Raleigh. While there, she met our father, William “Bill” Rawls, who she married with a grand wedding in 1954. She taught science at high schools in various locations while Bill took a circuitous route through the military, then insurance sales in Indiana, then back to Davidson College and finally, to Medical School at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Along the way she had two sons, Billy and Jimmy.

The family moved to New Bern, where Bill worked hard as an OBGYN and Helen raised the boys and gained a mastery of cooking, painting, needlepoint and decorating. She was very active, along with the rest of the family, in sailing, which in turn, led to much time spent in Abaco, Bahamas, where she gained many more friends and stories. She was also very active in the Episcopal church, first at Christ Church in New Bern and then at St. Paul’s in Beaufort, where she and Bill moved after his retirement.

Helen and Bill thoroughly enjoyed entertaining, as anyone who ever attended their New Year’s Day event can attest. She was the consummate host and truly in her element for these events. She leaves behind a wealth of memories for all who knew her and her fortitude. Some of us were lucky enough to know her beautiful singing voice and to hear her arias floating out of the kitchen as she whipped together an incredible meal with no need for any cookbook. Such was the essence of Helen.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. William C. Rawls in April of 2019; and nephew, Thomas Turlington

She is survived by her eldest son, William C. “Bill” Rawls Jr., and his wife, Meg Foster Rawls, and their children Braden and Billy; second son, James T. “Jimmy” Rawls, and his wife, Darlene Oxendine Rawls, and their daughter, Maya; brother, Robert W. “Bobby” of Turlington, Maryland, and his wife, MaryAnn, and son, Wade, and daughter, Heather; brother, William “Billy” Turlington, and his sons, William and David; and beloved chocolate Labrador, Luke, who is in the great care of her good friends, Debbie and Ellick Wilson.

A small service will be held outdoors at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at St. Paul’s Episcopal.

The family is especially grateful for Sharon Crooms, Debbie, Inez, Cory, Jamie , Jeniffer (hospice R.N.), Angie Barr and the other staff of the Davis Community who have done a great job of taking care of folks like our mother, especially considering the challenges they have faced as of late. We are also grateful for the compassion and care of Rector Tammy Lee at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Beaufort.

In lieu of flowers the family would like donations to her beloved St. Paul’s Episcopal, 215 Anne St., Beaufort, NC 28516.

Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.

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