Helen Louise Wallace Charles, 97
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PORTLAND -- Helen Louise Wallace Charles, 97, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House. The daughter of Commodore Captain Herbert Henry Wallace and Margaret Murray Wallace, she was born in Boston, Mass. on Dec. 8, 1915.
As a young child, she often sailed on her father's ships (S.S. Plymouth) for weeks at a time and frequently made shorter, Boston- to-Portland, trips to visit family members then living in Portland. As a child she studied dance, piano and elocution participating in recitals both in Boston at the former Mechanics Hall and at Copley Plaza; and in Portland at the Chestnut Street Methodist Church and at summer camp ministries in Old Orchard Beach. Her mother, an accomplished dressmaker and milliner always made exquisite costumes for the numerous performances. She attended grade school in Somerville, Mass. and later when her family moved to Portland, she graduated from Deering High School. She later attended Burdett College of Business in Boston, graduating in 1935. She worked briefly in Boston upon graduation for both Liberty Mutual and John Hancock Insurance.
Helen met her beloved husband, Arthur H. Charles in the church youth group at the Chestnut Street Church and they married in 1938. They attended services and taught Sunday school for many years and later joined the Woodfords Congregational Church in 1998.
Helen and Arthur were the quintessential partners in life, work and play. Together they started and ran the Maine State Grocers Association for over 50 years, Arthur as Executive Director and Helen as his Executive Assistant. They later co-founded, Association Services. Helen supported Arthur during his terms in the State Legislature, Senate and as Cumberland County Commissioner and together their business, Association Services, supported the administrative needs of several associations including, the Maine State Grocers Association and the Southern Maine, and Maine Life Underwriters Association, and the Chartered Life Underwriters. Following 25 years of service, she and Arthur (as a couple) received the J. Putnam Stevens Award for their outstanding work and dedication to the Maine Association of Life Underwriters (MALU). An award was established in their names by the MALU and SMALU, and has been given each year to a deserving person or persons who best represent exceptional service. In 1987 Helen and Arthur also established the Maine State Coupon Redemption Center.
Helen was busy throughout her life in many other civic and social events. She was a member of the Maine Pomological Association and crowned Miss Apple Queen, 1938; she served as member of the National Ski Patrol during 1942 (WW II) and also as Warden under the Civil Defense Corps; she was script writer and on air radio personality 'Lee Vincent' for a weekly radio broadcast of WGAN's 'Homemakers Hour' and wrote commercials for
Helen Louise Charles
Jones, Rich & Hutchins
Funeral Home & Cremation Service
several local businesses. In 1957 she was appointed Clerk to Committees on Business Legislation and the Veterans of Foreign Affairs for the State Legislature. She was chairperson for the State and Local Republican Party; was a Notary Public; a 40 year Breast Cancer survivor; member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for over 50 years and served a term as President for the Elizabeth Wadsworth Chapter; and, a member of Eastern Star, Portland, Ladies of Kiwanis (past president) and the Portland Masonic Club with her husband.
Helen spent many wonderful summers at Sebago Lake watching family and neighbors put on water ski shows, cheering them on from the side and supporting them in local regional and national water skiing competitions. An award in her son's name, The Herbert J. 'Skip' Charles memorial Scholarship, for an outstanding swimmer on the Deering High School Swim Team, is presented each year in honor of his coaching and swimming achievements at DHS. He passed away at age 26 soon after receiving the 1962 title of North American Overall Water Ski Champion.
Helen had a great love of family that she passed on to all that knew her. She supported all the activities her family participated in and loved to attend sporting events, Waynflete School Dance Concerts, and many family vacations. She considered Dorothy and Philip Nelson her greatest friends and in-laws, and she and Arthur often traveled and vacationed with them.
Helen was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Arthur H. Charles; and her son, Herbert 'Skip' Charles. She is survived by her daughter, Susan C. Nelson and her husband, Barry W. Nelson; her grandchildren, Zachary C. Nelson and his wife Camille G. Nelson, Taja M. Dockendorf and her husband, Peter J. Dockendorf. and Jannik W. Nelson, and his wife Kelsey S. Nelson; her great-grandchildren, Colton and Helena Nelson, Barohn and Lula Dockendorf, and Breyla Nelson; her sister Shirlejean W. Babcock, and her husband William T. Babcock; her nieces and nephews, Barbara LaMontagne, Laura Casoli, Douglas Babcock and Richard Babcock; numerous cousins; and extended family, Eileen Dockendorf and David Lathrop.
A memorial service will be held at the Woodfords Congregational Church on Sunday, Feb. 17th at 1:00 p.m.
The family wishes to thank Hospice of Southern Maine for their constant support and care while Helen was at home. Care for Helen and her family have been entrusted to the Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home of Portland, ME.
In lieu of flowers,
donations can be sent to:
The Herbert J. 'Skip' Charles Scholarship Fund
c/o Deering High School
310 Stevens Avenue
Portland, Maine 04103
Attention: Joyce DiFillipo
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 5, 2013
Arrangements under the direction of:
Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home
199 Woodford Street | Portland, ME 04103 | (207) 775-3763