(Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Helen Curry Edwards, a beloved and elegant mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and the matriarch of the Curry family, left her earthly body on November 17, 2021. She is now at home with her Lord and Savior. Through Helen’s lifetime, she developed a spiritual and work ethic that has impacted her entire family and friends. She loved people, was an encourager, mentor, a gifted giver, and always made you feel special with her kind words and deeds. However, her greatest joy was spending time with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family, friends, and her church family.

On November 19, 1932, Helen was born to David Conley Curry and Maggie Johnson in Quincy, Florida. She was the oldest of seven children. The family relocated to Miami, Florida, in 1941 when she was nine years old. At the age of 12, her mother passed away, and Helen assumed the role of mother to her younger siblings while receiving help from her Uncle Robert and Aunt Johnnie Mae (Annie) Perry. This was a challenging time, but Helen’s voice of hope and accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior at St. John Baptist Church in Miami, Florida, provided a successful path for her and her siblings.

Helen was educated in the Miami Dade School system. She attended Phyllis Wheatley Elementary and Booker T. Washington Junior and Senior High School. Helen was an exceptional student and excelled in all her classes. She met her childhood schoolmate, Essie Bentley, and remained friends with Essie for over 75 years. Essie’s mother became a mother-like figure to Helen.

Helen often went to work with her Aunt Lou to clean houses, but her mother insisted that she would never be a housekeeper and sent her to piano lessons at a time when Blacks could not afford it. This set the foundation for her educational goals. Helen pursued her education to the highest degree, attending Compton Community College, Long Beach State College, and the University of Southern California, where she received her Doctorate in Education.

In the early forties, she met William L. Edwards, and they became high school sweethearts. They married in 1950 and soon moved to Los Angeles, CA. Together, they had four children; Deborah, Don, Susan, and Dorri.  The Edwards raised their children with Christian values and principles. They created many memories by taking family trips. Helen taught the importance of family and education to her children and exposed them to all that life offered them. Because of her love for classical music and hymns, each of her children played a musical instrument. She was a strong, beautiful, generous, and devoted mom. William and Helen were role models and mentors to many children in their community and within their own extended family.

Helen worked for the Compton Unified School District, Los Angeles Community College, and Harbor Community College, where she retired after 50 years as an educator and administrator. She received numerous awards and recognition for her service in education and her community. One of Helen’s greatest achievements was receiving a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation to work side-by-side with top leaders and experts in her field. She was involved in numerous organizations such as the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, the National Council of Negro Women (Compton Section), USC Alumni Association, and the American Association of University Women.

Since a child, Helen has always been a devout Christian, which has been her family’s foundation. She continued her Christian development and growth at various churches, including Evangelical Baptist, Immanuel Baptist, and Zoe Christian Fellowship of Whittier. She held many roles and was a very active member with her husband. Helen walked in the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Throughout her life, she was faithful to her calling, which will be captured in the inscription to be placed on her grave marker, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Helen, affectionately known as Granga, forged a solid and unique bond with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They learned important family traditions, life stories, and Helen shared the same educational and spiritual values with her grandchildren as she did with her children. Helen also enjoyed spending time with her siblings and their families. Her home was the meeting place for the Curry traditional Christmas breakfast that she hosted for over 55 years. In addition to her love of family, she enjoyed conversing, traveling, reading, playing the piano, and singing.

Our lives are forever changed, and her legacy lives on through her family.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, David and Maggie Curry, Sr.; her brother, David Curry Jr.; and her sisters, Betty Lou Curry, Diana (Curry) Ragoonan, and Eleanor (Curry) Wilkerson; and her loving husband, William L. Edwards.

She is survived by her four children, Deborah Edwards, Don Edwards, Susan (Squire) Adams, and Dorri (Ronald) Robertson; Two brothers, Joseph Curry and Raymond (Loretta) Curry; Nine grandchildren, Deon (Mio), Denise, Ericka, Don Jr., Jason (Pearline), Sarah, Crystal (Ramsey), Nicholas, and Jessica; Twelve great-grandchildren, Allen (Melanie), Whitney, Ethan, Grace, Amber, L’Mio, Zion, Noah, Willow, Rainbow, Mackenzie, Helaina, and baby Isabella, due this winter. She will also be missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and special, life-long friends, Martha Bowers and Gwen Polee, whom she was friends with for over sixty years; and Essie Bentley, whom she shared seventy-five years of friendship.