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Mrs. Helen Francis Gladden (Blanton), of Marion, NC, passed away on Sunday, May 9, 2021, at the age of 85. She had been a resident of Marion since 1978.
Helen was born to parents Alfred and Susie Blanton in Slope Hollow, Louellen, KY, on November 24, 1935. She was the second of 9 children. Growing up in the coal fields of Harlan County, KY, she knew hardship but learned the value of working hard and the blessings of family. Her childhood nickname, Tuffy, described her spirit and determination throughout her life, and she was sustained by her faith in Jesus Christ as her savior and anchor. She was a member of Old Fort Church of God and loved her church family.
Helen is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth Lightfoot, Vanessa Nacianceno (Sam), and Patricia Ackley, her sons, George Brown and Johnny Gladden (Sonya), and her sole surviving sibling, James Blanton of Michigan. She is loved dearly by her 8 surviving grandchildren, and was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Camilla Anzures.
Helen will be missed by her 14 great-grandchildren and her great-great-grandson, Ean Anzures. She is also survived by several first cousins.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Pat Gladden, her sisters Mary, Betty, and Brenda, and her brothers Bill, Delbert, Frank, and Leroy.
Helen’s long-held wish was to be cremated with no memorial service. A simple viewing will be held for immediate family only, followed by cremation at Beam Funeral Service and Crematory, Marion, NC. The family appreciates expressions of sympathy but respectfully declines any offers of flowers or donations.
The family is especially grateful to Luanne, Sherry and the staff at Hospice of the Carolina Foothills for all the care and compassion they provided Helen at home in her final months. The family also appreciates the fine care Helen received from Dr. Mark Burton and his staff over the years.
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