February 20, 2010
WOOLWICH Shirley Ruth (Colby) Helms died at her family home in Woolwich on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, surrounded by family and her husband of nearly 66 years. She was the daughter of Maurice and Marguerite Colby of Watertown, Mass., and Wiscasset. She graduated in 1941 from Watertown High School, where she captained the field hockey team. She went to Burdett College where she graduated with a business and accounting degree. On March 29, 1944, she married Edgar J. Helms, who was then a technical sergeant in the Army Air Corps. After his return from service in Europe, he received his masters of divinity degree from Boston University and became a Methodist minister in the New England Conference. Together, they served Massachusetts churches in Newton Lower Falls, Wellesley, Milford, Springfield and Westfield. During this time, Shirley Helms held professional support positions in finance in Boston and in college admissions and administration at Western New England College and Westfield State College. In 1983, they retired to the cottage they had built on the shore of Pemaquid Lake in Damariscotta. Their cabin, christened Kum-Ba-Yah, became a favorite gathering place for friends and family over the years. In 2006, they began spending winters with their daughter, Shirley Helms Titcomb, and her family at the Colby family homestead in Woolwich. Surviving are her husband, Edgar J. Helms; a son, Ned Jr. and his wife, Sally, of Concord, N.H.; a daughter, Shirley Helms Titcomb and her husband, Ron, of Woolwich; three grandchildren, Greg Titcomb of South Burlington, Vt., Margaret Helms Cimini of Somerville, Mass., and Kelly Titcomb of Woolwich; a sister-in-law, Dottie Lou Colby of Tucson, Ariz.; and nephews and nieces. She was predeceased by her brothers, Franklin of Somers, Conn., and William of Tucson. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Miles Home Health and Hospice, 35 Miles St., Damariscotta, ME 04543. A service celebrating her life will be held on April 23 at 2 p.m. at the Round Pond United Methodist Church.