Funeral services for Mrs. Helen Jean Willis Sullivan, age 97, of Manchester, will be conducted at 10:00 AM on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at First Baptist Church in Manchester with Dr. Brenton Cox officiating.
Burial will follow in Hillsboro Memorial Cemetery.
Visitation with the family will be from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM on Wednesday evening at Manchester Funeral Home.
Ms. Jean passed away on Monday, August 31, 2015 at McArthur Manor in Manchester.
Helen Jean Willis Sullivan was born on April 6, 1918, the second of ten children of John F. And Maggie Henley Willis.
She attended Athens College in Athens, AL and received her BS degree from Middle Tennessee State College. She was a dedicated teacher, touching the lives of countless children. She began her career in 1938 at a one-room school in the Thompson Hall Community, and even taught some of her younger siblings there. She had been known to say she never graduated from the second grade as teaching second graders was her passion. “Miss Jean”, as her students called her, spent a total of 36 years in the classroom, retiring in 1980, after teaching at Hickerson Station School in the lower elementary education levels for 34 years. She even taught some of the children whose parents she had taught earlier.
Jean was an avid traveler after her retirement, having visited all 50 states and 20 countries, including four trips to Europe. Her one regret was that she never traveled to Israel to see the Holy Land. She enjoyed all things about nature, growing flowers, feeding birds, and gardening. She loved people, especially children and probably never met anyone with whom she could not have a conversation. In later years, she especially enjoyed the music at Manchester Senior Center.
Jean was the oldest member, at the time of her death, of First Baptist Church, as well as the longest standing member, having joined in 1953. She taught Primary Sunday School there for 30 years and was involved in other activities of the church. She was a member of the Manchester Garden Club, Tennessee Ornithological Society, Coffee County Retired School Teachers, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, Chautaugua, Foothills Crafts, and her church W.M.U. Circle.
In addition to her parents, Jean was also preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, Robert H. Sullivan, who died in 1986; one grandson, Michael Ray Cates; one sister, Cora Willis Roper; and three brothers, Harold, Jack, and Kenneth Willis.
She is survived by her two daughters, Juanita (William H.) Greer of Murfreesboro and Jane (Rolland) Heim of Manchester; one granddaughter, Jessica Heim of NY; three sisters, Christine Deadman, Betty Jaggers, and Ann Wells; two brothers, Fred and Bob Willis; and numerous nieces and nephews, as well as great-nieces and –nephews.
The family wishes to thank the staff at McArthur Manor for their loving and compassionate care of her during the past 3 ½ years.
Manchester Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.