Obituary for Helen J. Smith
In the early morning hours of June 21, 2022, God called Helen Jones Smith home to rest. She gently departed this life at her home in Warminster, PA. Helen was the first of five children born in Rochester, NY to Agnes and
John Jones (deceased). She was born on December 9, 1930 and graduated from Madison High School in 1950. Since Junior High School, Helen wanted to become a registered nurse and her parents encouraged
her to pursue a career in nursing at a Black institution. She was accepted at the Mercy Douglas Hospital and School for Nurses located in Philadelphia, PA and graduated in 1954.
After graduation, Helen returned to her home in Rochester, New York. Her first job as a registered nurse was as a staff nurse in the Pediatric Department of the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital. Working at this medical facility as the first Black registered nurse proved to be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.
In 1955, Helen met Isaiah Smith Jr., who was in his second year at Lincoln University. Helen started working at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia in 1955 and remained at that hospital for 29 years. She held a variety of
positions within the Newborn and Infants Acute Department, Toddlers Unit, Clinical Triage Department, Home Care Nursing and served as Urology Nurse for the Chief of Pediatric Urology.
In the early 70’s after the Children’s Hospital relocated, Helen decided to stay in the South Philadelphia area and accepted a position as a community nurse with an affiliated Thomas Jefferson Hospital community
clinic for over the next ten years. Helen spoke with pride about spending most of her forty-year nursing career in South Philadelphia, caring for three generations of family members.
Helen treated and taught children and their families about lead poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, and other acute illnesses. She provided adolescents with information and services regarding HIV and introduced
them to services provided by Planned Parenthood Clinics throughout the Philadelphia area. Helen stated “I have found friendships, respect and fulfillment in nursing. I thank God for my professional nursing career and
the joy and happiness I received touching so many individuals’ lives for so many years.”
Helen married the late Isaiah Smith Jr., affectionately known as “Smitty,” in her parents’ home in Rochester, NY during the summer of 1955. They had three children: Robin Agnes Smith, Lisa Diane Smith, and David Isaiah
Smith. Both of her daughters graduated from Hampton University and her son graduated from Ashford University (located in Iowa). Helen was the proud grandmother to three grandsons: Isaiah David Smith,
Jordan Elijah Smith and Brandon Alexander Bruno. She also had four granddaughters: Sarah Ann Smith (deceased in May 2020), Kiara Day-Smith, Joella Smith, and Nicole Bruno.
Helen was a member of Berean Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, PA for over fifty years. She was active and served in various capacities and organizations within the church, ranging from Sunday School Teacher,
Trustee to President of the Isaiah Smith Scholarship Fund and Mother’s Club member.
Helen served as a trailblazer in her life. She was able to successfully juggle the responsibilities of being a health service professional, wife, mother, and active church member. Helen’s favorite hymn was: “I Won’t Complain.”
Helen’s legacy of love and faith will always be remembered by her three surviving children: Robin Smith of Warminster, PA, Lisa Smith of Boonsboro, MD, and David Smith of Azusa, CA. She is also survived by
her sister, Paulette Jones Welch of Rochester, NY; a brother, Townsend Jones (Marilyn) of Gurnee, IL.; a sister-in-law, Geneva Hassell of Bowie MD; and a host of nieces, nephews, and many dear friends.She was also preceded in death by a an infant brother, Edward Jones, sister, Noreen Greenlea and her husband, Clifford.
Services: Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing on Tuesday, June 28th from 9:00-11:00 A.M. followed by a funeral service at 11:00 A.M. all from Berean Presbyterian Church, 2101 N. Broad Street, (Corner of Broad & Diamond Streets), Philadelphia. Burial will take place on Wednesday morning, June 29th in Nisky Hill Cemetery- Bethlehem PA.. The Procession to the Cemetery will form at the JAMES FUNERAL HOME, 527 Center Street, Bethlehem PA, beginning at 11:00 A.M. and will proceed to the Cemetery at 11:20 A.M.
Flowers may be delivered to the funeral home on Monday between 10:00AM and 4:00PM Only. No flowers will be accepted on Tuesday Morning at the funeral home.
Services will be Live-Streamed: To watch the services, please click on the Photos and Videos Tab from the menu and then click on Webcasting. The Service will go live at 10:55 A.M.