Helen Jewelle Cannon Masciale Baker Gardner, 94, of Atlantic Beach, formerly of Kinston, flew to Paradise on January 2, 2020 at the Crystal Coast Hospice House in Newport.
She was born on May 23,1925 at the Cannon family farm in Ayden, N.C. A lover of nature from birth, she spent her childhood playing with her brothers and cousins, swinging from tree to tree like Tarzan in the woods on the farmland. She always said that Ayden was the garden spot of the world.
At 17, she went to Cherry Point to help with the war effort, and became the Department Head of Navy Supply until 1945. She received her B.A. at the American School of Design in New York City, and her B.F.A. at UNCG in 1950. She was a business executive and a design consultant for most of her life. She owned or co-owned several businesses throughout the years, including Baker Furniture Co., Cannon Paint and Wallpaper, Gardner Construction Co., and Lenoir Plumbing and Heating. A pioneer in her field, she was the first woman to serve on the board of the Chamber of Commerce in Kinston.
She lived long and she definitely prospered. She loved and was loved. She traveled and saw the world. She was always learning new things and teaching others new things. She was a dancer, a creator, a believer, and a Trekkie. She kept everything in their place and kept her family together. She was a mother and a friend. But to everyone she met, she was Momma Jewelle. She was everyone’s grandmother, everyone’s safe place and comfort. She changed the people she met with her love, laughter, and her stories. She dedicated her life to her family. She always made sure everyone knew they were loved, remembered where they came from, and learned their life lessons. She always made sure we knew about our family before us and filled us full of her childhood stories. She had a great love for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She taught us all so many life lessons that we’ve taken with us through every day. She helped mold us all into the people we are. We all have hopes to be half of what she was. She was the epitome of grace, strength, and dignity.
A celebration of her life will be held in the spring, date and time to be announced.
She is survived by her daughter, Paula Baker Bryan of Atlantic Beach; son, Paul T. Baker Jr. and wife Marcie of Cary; step daughter Blanche Baker Miller of Lewisville, Texas; grandchildren, Perri Bryan Elliott and husband Malcolm of Winterville; Marlie Jade Baker and boyfriend Joe Cassell of Wilmington; Paul Thomas Baker III of Cary; David Miller and wife Edna of Coppell, Texas; Bill Miller and wife Mary of McKinney, Texas; Thomas Miller and wife Jane of McKinney, Texas; Trudy Miller of Lithia, Florida; Leigh Coombs of Kinston; Kristian Jones of Kinston; niece Raye Cannon Shimer of Kinston; and numerous loving great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Roland Ray Cannon and Helen Jackson Cannon; two brothers, Simpson Ray Cannon and Perry Bender Cannon; two of her husbands, Paul Thomas Baker Sr. and Fred C. Gardner; grandson, Raymond A. Bryan IV; and step daughter Angela Gardner Hollowell.
The family would like to thank the entire staff of the Crystal Coast Hospice House, and two very special caregivers, Linda Johnson and Leila Dixon.
Memorial donations may be made to the National MPS Society c/o Donations PO Box 14686 Durham, NC 27709-4686 or online at https://mpssociety.org/give/
Condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at www.noefs.org.
Arrangements by Noe Funeral Service, Inc. of Beaufort, N.C.
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