HELEN MADORA COXE RICHARDSON 1914-2017
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A Celebration of Life
If we could describe Helen Madora Coxe Richardson in four words they would be: Energetic, Enthusiastic, Entertaining, and Encouraging.
Extraordinary – Helen loved life! The fifth of nine children and the only girl, Helen was born December 19, 1914, in Westchester, Pennsylvania, to the late Philip John Augustus and Ama Della (Caliman) Coxe. Helen’s father was a Presbyterian minister and because of different church assignments the family lived in different states. Helen started school in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Barbara Scotia College in North Carolina. She discovered how much energy she really needed to keep up with her brothers.
Helen met and married George W. Richardson, Jr. in Johnson City, Tennessee and to this union four children were born: Madeline Marie (Peaches), George Philip, Margo Coxe, and John Wallace. The family moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1955.
Helen was able to continue living in her home, with the assistance of her dear granddaughter, Toni, and other ‘workers’ as she lovingly called them, until she was 100 years old. She later moved to Houston, TX to live with her son John and his loving wife Rhonda. Helen touched the lives of many people with her smile and generosity and maintained her trademark sense of humor all the way to the end.
Helen’s earthly journey ended peacefully on Saturday, July 1, 2017, at the Grace Care Center, in Katy, Texas. In addition to her mother, father, and all of her siblings, Helen was preceded in death by her husband, George, daughter and son-in-law, Madeline (Peaches) and Frank Jackson. Among those who mourn her departure yet treasure the memory of her spirit are two sons and two daughters-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. George (Valerie) Richardson of London, England; Mr. and Mrs. John (Rhonda) Richardson of Houston, Texas; one daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Melwyn (Margo) Turner of Racine, Wisconsin; twelve grandchildren; twenty-seven great-grandchildren and eighteen great-great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, family members by marriage and many friends.
Enthusiastic – Helen loved art! Her brothers were artist, builders, designers, and architects. Not to be out done, Helen honed her talents in sewing, needle work, woodworking, upholstering design and carpentry. She attended the Kimble School of Sewing, became a master tailor and seamstress. She operated a tailor shop for many years, designing custom clothes for her clients. Her enthusiasm for design continued as she decorated her home with the ‘theme of the day’ by making furnishings, upholstering, woodworking and quilting. This energy and enthusiasm for design continued to her yard. She built three decks, outdoor furniture, and converted her garage to a Florida Room. There was always a beautiful array of flowers to enjoy. She received numerous design awards including one from the City of Detroit for her creative design.
Entertaining – Helen loved parties! Her outdoor design became a catalyst for beautification projects taken on by the Bassett Street Block club in her neighborhood. Helen had such a passion for entertaining and making her guest feel welcomed. Everyone loved to flock to her backyard and home. It was always a party – good food, good conversation and a glass of red wine – because “the Doctor said it was good for your heart!”
Encouraging – Helen loved people! No matter what was presented, her favorite response was, “Well, Peter!” and that would lead to words of encouragement. She was an avid reader and encouraged her children, grandchildren and all she came in contact with to read. If you would ask her how she was able to build cabinets or lay a new floor, she would tell you, “Just read – It’s easy once you know how.”