Leah Ruth Grant Helms
Leah Ruth Grant Helms, 78, of Panama City passed into eternal life on Thursday, June 21, 2012 following a courageous battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She was born on September 19, 1933 in Samson, Alabama to Dewitt Talmage Grant and Sarah Ruth Bates Grant. Leah was raised on a farm in Geneva County, and along with her brother she learned the value of hard work. She was a 1951 graduate of Samson High School and in 1955 obtained her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education at Troy State Teachers College. That same year she moved to Panama City and devoted the next forty-eight years of her life to educating children. Leah's outstanding teaching skills were recognized by her peers in 1966 when she was named Outstanding Young Educator. In 1982 and in 1988 she was named Bay County Teacher of the Year. She was a life-time member of the Tau Chapter of the Alpha Delta Kappa teachers' sorority, an active member of the Bay County Retired Educators Association, and also held memberships in the Junior Service League, the Junior Museum of Bay County, and the Panama City Music Association. Leah was a longtime and faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church of Panama City where she served in many capacities including Sunday school teacher, Vacation Bible school teacher, as well as President and then Vice-President of Women in the Church. She was a member of the Lauren Merriam Fellowship Sunday School Class. In 1966, Leah was joined in marriage to Charles Jones Helms. The next fourteen years were the happiest in her life until his untimely death from cancer in 1981. Leah was an avid gardener, and loved planting foliage and caring for her lawn. Her lemon tree produced fruit the size of oranges, and she always shared these with friends, family or new acquaintances. Her other favorite activities included cooking delicious southern meals, socializing with her many dear friends and small family as well as dining out. She will always be remembered for her delicious pound cakes which she shared with numerous people. Left to cherish her memory are not only her family and many friends, but also the innumerable students whose lives she touched. She is survived by one son, Charles Grant Helms of Panama City; one brother Joseph T. Grant and sister in law Quinoma Grant of Geneva, Al; one niece, Jolie Grant Starling of Montgomery, Al along with her husband Jay Starling and their daughter, Gigi Starling. Funeral services will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church in Panama City with the Rev. Dr. Richard Watson officiating. Interment will follow at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the service. Asked to serve as pallbearers are Dr. Milton Acton, Bob Barnard, Carl Russ, Dan Gall, Jimmy Hughes and Frank Skerratt. Honorary Pall Bearers are the members of the Bay County Retired Educators Association, Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority and the Women in the Church of First Presbyterian. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the scholarship fund of Bay County Retired Educators at 1043 La Paloma Terrace, Panama City, FL, 32401. The family will always remain grateful to Dr. Kun Frank Lu, Dr. Bobbi Baker and the excellent nurses and staff of Bay Medical's Covenant Hospice for their compassionate care.
Wilson Funeral Home