Helen Elizabeth Shultz Gibson

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Helen Elizabeth Shultz Gibson passed away Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. She was 94.

Helen was born on Nov. 10, 1917, on State Street in Jackson to John Robert Shultz and Ann Miller Shultz. The Shultz family soon returned to their hometown of Greenville.

Helen attended the Greenville Public Schools and was a 1935 graduate of Greenville High. Her classmates included “the Percy boys,” the nephews of William Alexander Percy. The Civil War historian, Shelby Foote, was a childhood neighbor and friend. Helen was always very proud of the literary circle in Greenville.

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In 1937, Helen was asked to represent the Pilot Club in the Miss Greenville pageant. Mrs. Hodding Carter was one of the judges and someone Helen admired all her life. She won the title and represented her home city in the Miss Mississippi pageant. From the death of her father in 1936, until her marriage in 1952, Helen was the bread winner for her family. Her first job was with the Mississippi Corps of Engineers planning the first Greenville bridge. She then became business manager for Joe Weinberg at his store, The Leader, and the Weinberg properties.

Helen and her late husband, Charles Clifford Gibson Jr., operated the family farm, store and cotton gin in Jerome, Ark. She was a lifelong Democrat and born into the Methodist faith, elected lifetime member of the United Methodist Women, and member and officer of the Altruian Club of Dermott, Ark., the National Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Pilot Club of Greenville. Helen was also the volunteer director of the first mental development testing of all students, white and black, in the then-segregated Dermott public schools.

She will be remembered for her beautiful complexion, distinctive Mississippi Delta accent and a person not afraid to speak her mind. The Greenville Bridge served her well in numerous trips “home.”

Mrs. Gibson is survived by her children, Margaret Ann Gibson Niven of Dermott, Charles Clifford Gibson III of Monticello, Ark., Helen Marie Gibson Burks of Vicksburg, John Robert and William Oran Gibson, both of New York, N.Y.; her grandchildren, John Robert Burks, Joy O’Neil Gibson Sills, Charles Clifford Gibson IV; and three great-grandchildren.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 31, at Dermott Cemetery. A memorial service will follow at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Greenville, 402 Washington Ave. Arrangements are by Stephenson Dearman Funeral Home, Monticello.

Memorials may be made to your favorite charity.

Online guestbook available at www.stephensondearman.com.