Clinton Corners – Helen Z Harper passed peacefully from this life on November 4, 2017, at the age of 101. She was surrounded by her family, friends and beloved pets. Affectionately known as “Ma” to everyone, she was born Helen Zylpha Briggs on May 22, 1916, an only child to the late Stuart and Florence Ward Briggs in Hyde Park, NY. On April 12, 1942, she married, William Ford Harper. They enjoyed 65 years of marriage before his death in 2007. Helen was also predeceased in death by her daughter, Kathleen Dale Wyant.
Helen lived in Clinton Corners, NY most of her life and was a homemaker for the family. Her home was warm and welcoming but her heart was at her “Camp” which was a small cottage in the Adirondack Mountains. She loved children and spent many years babysitting her grandchildren and others. She was active in her church and community, teaching Sunday school and becoming a leader for 4H and the Girl Scouts. As a Quaker, along with her husband and extended family, they were instrumental in the preservation of the historic Quaker Meeting House in Dutchess County, NY.
Helen moved to Shelbyville, TN in 2011, and continued to enjoy doing puzzles, playing scrabble at the Shelbyville Senior Center every week, and visiting with friends, but reading and taking care of her cats were her favorite pastimes. Helen was blessed with an extremely clear and complete memory of all her years. She was a wonderful storyteller and loved her known heritage, which dated back to the Revolutionary War days. She treasured her ancestors and memories of them. Everyone she met was touched by her unique personality and loving acceptance. Her stated secret to her long healthy life is hard work and a nice glass of wine every evening.
Helen is survived by her son Allan Harper (Barbara) Shelbyville TN, son-in-law Chick Wyant (Beth) Clinton Corners NY; eight grandchildren; Karen Larsen (Curt) Clinton Corners, NY; CJ Wyant (Christine) Whitinsville, MA; Jen Harper (Joe Bartusis) Brevard, North Carolina; Simon Wyant (Jen) Charlotte, NC; Sarah Culhane (Patrick) Hyde Park NY, Liana Grey (Joseph Lynch) Kingston NY, Julia Milroy (Daniel) Red Hook NY and Andrew Harper of Shelbyville, TN.
Her great-grandchildren were her pride and joy: Ashly Wyant-Shufelt, Curtis Larsen, Kathreen Larsen, Cortez Harper, Ezreth Wyant, Adrian Wyant, Jonathon Wyant, Graison Wyant, Austin Burns, Connor Burns, Kaya Burns, Jackson Milroy, Chase Milroy, Eliza Lynch, and Ronan Lynch.
A graveside service will be held 1pm on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at Crum Elbow Rural Cemetery, N. Quaker Lane, Hyde Park, NY. We will celebrate her life as she requested, rather than mourn her passing.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Crum Elbow Rural Cemetery Meeting House Preservation Assn. (CERCMHP), c/o Denise Byrnes, 144 Ruskey Lane, Hyde Park, NY 12538.