Patsy Anita Odom Helton

Published 4:31 pm Friday, November 2, 2018

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Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at the Petty Eastside Chapel Funeral Home in Atmore for Patsy Anita Odom Helton, 82, of Cantonment, Fla., who died Thursday, Oct. 25. Diane Ward and Dick Dour will officiate.

Helton, a native of McKenzie, had resided in Cantonment, Fla., since 1965. Her mother, Pansy Odom and her father, Aubrey Odom; husband, Donald Ray; four siblings, Rogene (Mylan), Gaston (Ruby), Lyla Carnathan and Lula Adams (Lloyd), preceded Ms. Helton in death.

Survivors include her son, Michael Helton; son-in-law, Eric O’Briant; brother-in-law, Gary Helton (Lola); sister-in-law, Glenda (Alan), and nieces and nephews, Wanda Dour (Dick), Phyllis Watford (Robert), Pansy Tillman (Dick), Tommy Carnathan (Sai), Judy Kramer (Will), Charlene Frater, Ray Adams (Sidna), Shannon Odom and Sheron Rundall.

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Ms. Helton was born the youngest child of five during the Great Depression in rural Alabama. Weighing only two pounds at birth, she was special from the start. Her father would place her on a pillow beside him in the seat of his milk truck as he made rounds through the community. She grew up lively, talkative and beautiful, winning Queen of the Strawberry Festival and Homecoming Queen, complete with handmade, tinfoil crown.

She met her husband, Donald Ray, at a Reorganized Latter-Day Saints church camp where he told his friends that she was the girl he was going to marry. Marry they did, spending the rest of their lives together in service to others through education, counsel and love.

Ms. Helton retired from teaching at Molino Elementary School where she spent most of her 30-year career. During the last 20 years of her life, she enjoyed traveling, shopping and spending time with her husband, son and son-in-law. The family feels sadness, not only for its own loss, but for all those that will never be able to meet the person who could literally light up a room with a single smile.

She was a member of the Remnant Church of Latter-Day Saints and a graduate of Troy State University where she received her bachelor’s degree and the University of Alabama where she received her master’s degree.

Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to the Crimson Tide Foundation at

Petty-Eastside Chapel Funeral Home is directing.