Home Obituaries OBITUARY: Mary Helen Jenkins Smith

OBITUARY: Mary Helen Jenkins Smith

WILMINGTON — Mary Helen Jenkins Smith, 83, of Wilmington, formerly Oak Island and Hamlet, passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 4, 2023, at Lower Cape Fear Life Care in Wilmington after a long battle with severe dementia.

Helen was born in Cleveland County on March 17, 1940, the daughter of the late Yan and Gladys Holland Jenkins.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Kenneth Lee Smith Sr.

She moved to Hamlet when she was 2 and graduated from Hamlet High School in 1958. She enjoyed playing bridge with her card club and tennis with her friends. She was a member of First Baptist Church while living in Hamlet. Helen worked for JC Penney in Richmond Plaza for more than 20 years and retired in 1988 to move to Oak Island.

She loved her family, especially her grandchildren. She enjoyed walking at the beach and spending time with dear friends. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Oak Island and attended New Life Church until she moved to Wilmington to live with her children.

Helen is survived by her son, Kenny Lee Smith Jr.(Susan) and daughter, Laine Smith McKnight (Gary) of Wilmington; her sister, Brenda Newman (Don) of Greensboro and her brother, Danny Jenkins (Cheryl) of Waynesboro, Virginia; grandchildren, Sarah Smith of Bucharest, Romania, Logan McKnight (Christian) of Wilmington, Mary Catherine Bowman (Ben) of Buda, Texas, Morgan McKnight Marshall (Sam) of Clyde, Elijah Smith and Dorothy Smith of Wilmington; as well as 18 great-grandchildren.


A visitation will be held at 11 a.m. till noon Tuesday, May 9 at Watson-King Funeral Home in Hamlet, followed by a service at Richmond County Memorial Park Mausoleum Chapel with Dr. Allison Farrah officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Lower Cape Fear Life Care, Baptist Children’s Homes of NC, Anchor of Hope Ministry, or the MS Society.

Online condolences may be made at watson-kingfuneralhome.com. Watson-King Funeral Home in Hamlet is serving the Smith family.

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