Franklin Rutherford died peacefully at home
on her 92nd Birthday, November 7, 2020 in Greenville, TX.
A public Visitation
at 1pm and Memorial Service to follow at 2pm will be held at United
Presbyterian Church on Friday November 13.
Officiated by Pastor Candice Womack. Services are under the direction of Coker-Mathews Funeral Home.
Helen’s family in celebrating the accomplishments and joys of Helen’s blessed
family burial will follow at East Mount Cemetery, Greenville, TX.
Born in Hope,
Arkansas on November 7, 1928 to Elmer and Zola Franklin, Helen graduated Hope
High School and graduated from Tri-State Nursing School in Shreveport,
Louisiana. Afterwards returning to Hope
for a position with the local hospital. Helen
then moved to Dallas to complete her nursing residency at the Old Parkland
Hospital, shortly after she accepted the position as Nurse for the Greenville
Independent School District in 1952.
Helen received her State Board of Examiners Nursing Registration from
both Arkansas and Texas in which she privately maintained through 1987.
Army Capt. William Medford “Med” Rutherford, Sr. in 1954. Her husband, a
disabled WWII veteran and purple heart recipient, never considered himself
“handicapped”. Like his wife, he was an intelligent, independent, quietly
strong and generous citizen. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1941 prior
to receiving his military commission. On
his return to Greenville, Med helped design his own accessible home and operated
his small business, The MR Shop in Downtown Greenville until his death in
1982. Helen considered herself blessed
to have had a wonderful loving marriage and friendship for 28 years, recently
sharing with her children, “Your Father made me a kinder person”.
characteristic independent strength, Helen then embraced the role as her
family’s matriarch. A loving, supportive, and “generous to a fault” mother,
grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, she offered a strong foundation and
encouragement for each of her children’s and grandchildren’s individual life
of self-care, Helen also administered to her family and friends when needed,
including the care of her husband, daughter, mother and sister.
to be asked, Helen was always first to volunteer to help but was also the first
to be sought out by her friends for her strong, compassionate care and
knowledge. She provided her inner strength, courage, intelligence, and grace,
without the need for acknowledgement or reciprocation.
Helen was a
long-time member of many local organizations including the PTA, Altursa Club
and Jr. Pallas Club. She enjoyed playing bridge twice monthly and socializing
with her Friday Shangri card and dinner group of friends each week. She was also a long-time member of the First
Presbyterian Church and “Presbyterian Women” since 1954. (Currently the United Presbyterian Church of
cooking and hosting her family and friends at every opportunity. She was also an avid gardener, sports
enthusiast and constant reader.
known for always presenting herself with her own refined style no matter the
occasion, casual or formal. Her weekly hair salon visits were rarely missed. She
understood the importance of always presenting your best self. It is in that
celebratory spirit, Helen requested to be buried in what she called her “party
a deep passion for travel, welcoming the joy of new experiences and the
education opportunities it provided. She embraced the diversity of New York
City, Boston, and San Francisco; among just a few cities she visited regularly
over the years. She also set out each fall and spring, accompanied by close
friends, for road trip “adventures”, bi-annually checking off many of her
“Bucket List” places. Her extensive travels also included many locations
throughout Europe and Canada.
adventurous spirit carried through into Helen’s later years: She celebrated her
84th Birthday with a champagne brunch at the famous Brennan’s in the
French Quarter of New Orleans and revisited the piano bar of Pat O’Brien’s, last
visited in 1950 with nursing school girlfriends. At the age of 86, she consumed the ultimate
pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli in NYC’s Lower East Side, enjoyed her love of
Broadway shows, attended the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, dined at the Culinary
Institute of America in Hyde Park, took a boat excursion on the Hudson and a
train ride through the Catskill Mountain Region, and enjoyed the West Point Jazz Band with a picnic on the
lawns at the West Point Academy Bandshell overlooking the majestic Hudson River
- all within a five-day span.
silver-haired grandmother demeanor belied an independent, fearless spirit. Understanding
the importance of remaining curious and current, throughout her life she
continued to educate herself and welcomed challenging her own beliefs as she
evolved intellectually, creatively, emotionally and spiritually.
to her courageous husband Med Sr, Helen was preceded in death by her beloved daughter
Ann Rutherford Bickel in 2007, her parents Elmer and Zola Franklin, sister Edna
Fielding and brother-in-law Jack Fielding, and a multitude of deeply loved
relatives and long-time family friends.
survived by her children Med Rutherford Jr., Joe Rutherford and daughter-in-law
Virginia Rutherford; grandchildren Elizabeth Rutherford, William Rutherford and
fiancé Lyndsey Jarvis, Andra and Garrett Breazeale, Kara and Randy Chaplin;
great-grandchildren Wyatt Chaplin and Ford Chaplin; beloved nieces Sharon Thomason
and Jacque Allen; and many other cherished Franklin, Turner, Ardis, Miller and
Rutherford family members.
carried out her actions with class, humility, humor, and her beautiful quiet
authority. While she will be deeply
missed by all who knew her, her family feel all the more blessed to have
experienced their lives with her never faltering honesty, courage and inherent
Honor make Donations to: United Presbyterian Church, “Presbyterian Women” at 5905 Stonewall,
Greenville, TX 75402.
In respect to
the family and our community the wearing of masks and proper social distancing
will be required. Due to limited seating in the Sanctuary, based on the CDC guidelines
we also encourage you to stream the service live on the United Presbyterian’s