Dr. Mary Ellen Helms Howell passed away on Monday November 21st, 2022. A visitation for Mary Ellen will be held from 4:00pm until 6:00pm on Saturday, November 26th at Belk Funeral Home. Her funeral service will be Sunday, November 27th at Welsh Neck Baptist Church in Society Hill at 2:00pm with interment following at Greenlawn Cemetery in Dillon, SC.
Born January 13, 1960, Mary Ellen was the daughter of Ernest Little and Sara Amaryllis Helms. After receiving her BSN from Clemson University, Mary Ellen went on to receive her MSN from the University of South Carolina. She worked as a nurse and nurse educator for many years and was known by her students for both her compassion and high expectations. Mary Ellen taught at Florence Darlington Technical College, MUSC at Francis Marion University and the University of South Carolina. She also taught courses internationally, in China and South Africa. She has influenced the lives of countless nurses across the world. Not only was Mary Ellen a dedicated educator but she was also a lifelong learner. While teaching at USC, Mary Ellen embarked on a PhD journey at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where she earned her PhD in Philosophy (Nursing). She was a member of the Oxford Round Table and never stopped seeking knowledge and understanding of the world around her.
Mary Ellen had a passion for travel and an insatiable curiosity about other cultures and customs. She served on several medical mission trips throughout her life and never tired of caring for those in need. When she was home, she loved working in her garden, reaping the fruits of her labor and sharing the bounty with others.
Known for her warm smile and infectious laugh, Mary Ellen could light up a room with just her presence alone. She never met a stranger, was quick to open her doors to any and all, could feed an army without breaking a sweat and loved her friends and family fiercely. She was a woman of unshakeable conviction, she held firmly to her faith and she lived her life in service of others.
Mary Ellen leaves behind a most devoted husband, David, a daughter, Sara Ashley Richardson (Ryan) and a precious grandson, Liam. She is also survived by her siblings, whom she adored, Emma Ruth Brittain (Clay) of Myrtle Beach, SC, Chip Helms of Society Hill, SC and Lila Helms (Michelle) of Washington, DC. Mary Ellen was a bonus mother to very special exchange students from Slovakia, Germany, Sweden and Brazil who she loved as her own. Mary Ellen had legions of devoted friends who she loved dearly and whom her family will always hold close.
Memorial donations can be made in Mary's name to St. Jude: 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. OR to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Office of Development, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607.