Obituary, Saturday, July 6, 2024

Published 7:43 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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Beverly Helton

Beverly Helton passed away peacefully at her home on July 3, 2024, after a courageous and valiant battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her devoted family and loved ones, comforted by the love and prayers of the many people whose lives she had touched.

Beverly was a fighter.  She approached her cancer battles with determination, faith, and a fierce will to live. She beat breast in cancer in 2008.  In 2017, she began a 7-year fight against a new cancer (ovarian), unrelated to the first, fighting with the same spirit.  While her earthly body could not endure, her spirit and love live on.

Beverly Helton

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Beverly dearly loved her family and friends. She is survived by her mother Shirley Steed, sister Maria Strother (Hank) and their children: Erika Moncrief (Dean) of Birmingham and Elaina Strother of Brundidge, Evan Strother (Isabelle) of Auburn and Beverly’s two great nieces and nephew, Kate, Kylie and Rowan.  She is also survived by her brother Mark Steed (Misty) of Brundidge, and children: Meredith Gramley of Troy, Seth Prestwood of Austin, Texas; and Sarah Emily Fortson of Wicksburg, and her boys Carter and Creed.  Beverly was loved by aunts, uncles, and cousins including Gary and Linda Steed and their children, Patsy Dickert and her children. Her Aunt Janice and Uncle Wayne LeCroy were especially close, providing comfort and support during her journey.  In addition, Beverly is survived by her long-term partner, Steve Pelham of Auburn, as well as many dearly loved friends.

Beverly was a life-long member of Richland Baptist Church, playing the piano for many services.  One of her greatest honors was being able to play for her father, Lamar Steed’s funeral in 2022, who preceded her in death and who will be welcoming her with open arms. She was also preceded by her grandparents Arvis and Kate Steed and Henry and Bunie Bullard.

Beverly Steed Helton was born June 4, 1959, the first of three children for Lamar and Shirley Steed in Brundidge, Alabama.  She was followed by two siblings, her sister Maria and brother Mark, with Beverly serving as the first-born leader, maintaining order and giving instructions.

After graduating from Troy State University in 1981, she began a successful 40 + year career of public service with the United States Department of Agriculture.  Her decades of assisting families, communities, and businesses in improving their quality of life in Alabama began with the Farmers Home Administration.  She later transitioned to Rural Development, where she put her skills to great use and success, as seen by her advancement through the agency to the level of senior management and serving as Acting State Director several times during her career.

Her heart for assisting others was evident through her dedication and unparalleled work ethic as she worked through the obstacles arising from working with changing governmental administrations. Whether working under a Republican or Democratic president, her goal remained the same: help Alabama families, communities, and businesses improve their quality of life.

During every step of her more than four decades of public service, she was recognized for her exceptional achievements, receiving numerous awards.

She was a graduate of Delta Leadership Institute (2016); a member of Momentum, (Class Nine, 2011-2012) Alabama’s premier women leadership program.  Continuing her service begun as an Angel Flight member while at Troy State University, she served as a member of the Wright Flyers, the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce Maxwell Air Force Base Support Group.

Although she was not blessed with children of her own, her pride and joy were her nieces and nephew.  She was actively involved in Erika, Evan and Elaina’s activities while they were growing up, serving as another strong female role model that loved them dearly.

She was an avid road-biker, continuing to make exercise a priority in her life even as she battled cancer, setting an example for others.

Beverly was a leader, mentor, and role model.  She used her knowledge and experiences during her 17-year journey fighting cancer to help others navigate their diagnoses, demonstrating how to live an active, full, joy-filled life.  She shared herself, her wisdom, her talents and amazing strength through many speeches, presentations and one-to-one conversations, a living example of her courage and vulnerability, providing hope, encouragement, and support for others.  She was actively involved in Women of Hope, an organization dedicated to helping women with cancer, touching many lives in the process.

Throughout her journey she considered herself to be blessed with the support and wisdom of an amazing and loving medical team, including Dr. Warner Huh, who leads the UAB Gynecologic Oncology division, and their Women’s Clinic team, and Dr. Stephen Davidson, and the staff with the Montgomery Cancer Center.

Beverly loved where she came from: the country, the land, her family, and her church. She never abandoned her country heritage and values. A celebration of her life, as well as her funeral service will be held at her home church, Richland Baptist Church, 2396 County Road 4411, Brundidge, Alabama 36010 on Monday, July 8, 2024, at 2:00 PM. followed by a graveside service at the church cemetery. Fittingly, Beverly’s final resting place is located across the road from her childhood home, where her mother continues to live.

Visitation will be on Sunday, July 7, 2024, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM at Dillard Funeral Home, 6549 US Highway 231, Brundidge, Alabama 36010.

Beverly leaves behind a legacy of strength, courage, wisdom, service, and most of all, love for the people whose lives she touched.  To honor Beverly’s life and legacy you may wish to contribute to Women of Hope, P. O. Box 241411, Montgomery, Alabama 36124 or to the Richland Cemetery Fund, 2396 County Road 4411, Brundidge, Alabama 36010.