Helen Brittina (Tink) Helpenstill in an undated photo courtesy of the family.

Helen Brittina (Tink) Helpenstill, 86, died peacefully on Aug. 18 at her home in Eagle, Alaska, with her daughter and son-in-law by her side.

She was the wife of the late Albert Helpenstill Sr.

Born on Ocracoke July 16, 1934, she was a daughter of the late Uriah and Maude T. Garrish.

Helen spent her teenage years with her uncle and aunt in Staten Island, New York. She returned home to graduate with her class at Ocracoke High School.

After graduation, Helen joined the United States Air Force and was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, where she met her husband.

After her marriage she left the service to be a fulltime mom and raise her two children, Jan and Albert.

After many years of military duty with her husband, they settled in Alaska where she went back to school at the age of 40, becoming a license practical nurse and worked at the Wesleyan Nursing Home until retirement.

She was an avid reader, enjoyed historical novels and enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and Europe.

After her husband’s death she moved to Eagle, Alaska, and traveled between East Texas and Ocracoke to visit family during the winter months.

In 2012 Helen received a kidney transplant which was successful, but later developed complications that ended her ability to travel.

She often commented on the fact that she was raised with no running water on Ocracoke and ended her life in a remote village in Alaska that is still without running water.

She is survived by a daughter, Jan Woodruff and husband Don of Eagle, Alaska, and son, Albert Helpenstill Jr of Redland, Texas, and Alaska;

Three sisters Maude Ballance, Grace Gaskill and Chole O’Neal; and one brother Robert Charles Garrish (Bobby), all of Ocracoke;

Grandchildren Uriah Parish of Seward, Alaska, Lee Ann Bailey and husband Brandon of Redland, Texas, Jeff Helpenstill and wife Stephanie of Kalaspell, Montana; five great-grandchildren; and many cousins and friends. 

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