Helen Martha Wilson Pennell, 87, died on October 19, 2016 at Caldwell County Hospice and Palliative Care after an extended battle with Parkinson’s disease. Helen was born on January 5, 1929 the oldest child of Clerge George Wilson and Nola Elsie Icenhour Wilson of Taylorsville, NC. She was a 1947 graduate of Taylorsville High School where she was the first of the six legendary basketball-playing Wilson sisters. After graduating from Clevenger’s Business College in Hickory, NC, Helen settled in Lenoir to become the administrative assistant of William E. Stevens, then vice-president of Broyhill Furniture Company. She married James Harold Pennell in 1950, and the couple resided in Lenoir until 1970 when they moved their family back to their hometown of Taylorsville. Helen removed from public work for fifteen years to dedicate herself to rearing her children. Upon returning to the work force, the majority of her years were spent with the Alexander County Department of Social Services, from which she retired in 1994 after twenty-one years of service.
Helen is preceded in death by two sisters: Doris Wilson and Jean (Gene) Gwaltney both of Taylorsville. In addition to her husband of 66 years, she is survived by three sisters: Nancy (Lawrence) Teague of Hickory, Ann (Larry) Bowman of Hickory, and Kaye (Herman) Hammer of Stony Point. Helen also is survived by four daughters: Myra Pennell of Lenoir, Jan (David) Lackey of Statesville, Angela Pennell of Huntersville, Sarah Pennell of Taylorsville, and two grandchildren: Jesse (Faith) Lackey of Monroe, and Sloan Stevenson of Charlotte. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Alexander Funeral Service in Taylorsville, and condolences may be made online at http://www.alexfuneralservice.com/. The family will receive visitors at the funeral home on Tuesday, October 25 from 1:30 until 2:45 p.m. prior to the funeral service at 3:00 p.m. Reverend Jamie Steele and Reverend Gary Jennings will officiate. Burial will follow at Taylorsville City Cemetery on East Main Avenue (Hwy 90). Memorial contributions may be made to East Taylorsville Baptist Church (PO Box 906, Taylorsville, NC 28681), where Helen was a long-time member. Also, memorials may be made to Caldwell County Hospice and Palliative Care (902 Kirkwood St, NW, Lenoir, NC 28645).