Helen Burton Vincent was born in her family home in Onley, Virginia on May 16, 1920. She was the second child of Vernon Swanger Burton and Loleta Boggs Burton. She graduated from Onancock High School in 1937, and attended Mary Washington College for several years.
Growing up in Onley, Helen’s house was between her grandparents (William A. and Sarah Burton), and her aunt and several cousins (the Waters family), and across the street from another aunt and more cousins (the Parsons family).
At Mary Washington, Helen was a history major. She always enjoyed reading history, biographies, historical novels, and genealogy. She enjoyed studying antiques, playing bridge with friends, and was fascinated by archeology. Her tables were filled with open books, magazines, and crossword puzzles, all of which kept her mentally active until the end.
Helen shared two vivid memories of her student days at Mary Washington. She was living with many other girls in the dormitories when Orson Wells made his famous radio broadcast announcing that Martians had landed in New Jersey. Many of the girls were crying and calling home in distress, but Helen, ever positive and well grounded, did not believe the broadcast. She also recalled the day her father sent her an entire shipping crate of fresh Eastern Shore strawberries. Helen was the most popular girl in her dorm that day.
After leaving college, Helen worked in Baltimore during World War II. She then returned to the Eastern Shore, working briefly at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Onley and for years at the Eastern Shore Citizens’ Bank in Onancock. Helen married Lacy S. Vincent in 1953. They lived just outside Onley until 1960, when the family moved into Helen’s family home on East Main Street in Onley. Later, Helen worked as an Avon representative, at a jewelry and gift store in Parksley, and as an office manager at an alcoholism treatment center in Onancock.
Helen was a faithful member of Onley United Methodist Church from 1931 until her death. She taught the nursery class for many years, and always loved babies and little children. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Hermitage Guild, and served the Eastern Shore Historical Society as a Ker Place volunteer.
Until her final year, Helen was blessed with excellent health. She lived independently, in a two-story house, cooking her own meals, driving her red mini-van, and walking to church, until she was 97. She will be remembered for her cheerfulness, positive outlook, and her love for others.
Helen is survived by her son, Judge Gordon S. Vincent and his wife Carol H. Vincent of Onley, and two grandchildren, Joseph V. B. Vincent of College Park, Maryland and Elizabeth H. Vincent of Washington, D.C. Also surviving are two nephews, William Butler Burton and John D. Burton, numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and their children. She was predeceased by her husband, Lacy S. Vincent (1922-2013), her brother, Joseph A. Burton (1914-1986), and her niece, Delano Burton May.
A visitation will be at the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home, Wednesday, December 26, 2018, from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. Private interment held at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Onancock.
A memorial service will be held at Onley United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:00 p.m., with The Reverend Charles W. Parks III officiating. A reception will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Onley United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 98, Onley, VA 23418.
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.