Helen Carthen Anderson was born on October 6, 1935 to the late Robert Carthen Sr. and Roetta Baldwin Carthen in Red Springs, North Carolina. She was the eleventh child of eighteen children. Helen attended Upchurch High School in Raeford, North Carolina. Early in her life she moved to Brooklyn, New York with her four children Rita, Eddie, Dot, and Rafi. Helen was gainfully employed with the Willow Brook State School as a Mental Health Therapist Aide for 25 years before her retirement. There she met many friends and was loved by the individuals that she cared for daily. She was a phenomenal mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and role model.
Helen was known for her exceptional cooking skills. Thanksgiving was her specialty, where each year she would prepare some of the best southern dishes for her family. The main dish Helen was known for was her “Red Rice” which everyone in her family craved! Helen’s Red Rice became a staple at most family gatherings because of its unique flavor. One of Helen’s greatest accomplishments was her investment into her grandchildren and great grandchildren’s future. If anybody knows Helen, they know that they were the center of her universe. Helen was a strong advocate of education. One of Helen’s favorite lines was “where there’s a will there’s a way”. Helen also adored her siblings, whom she enjoyed spending time with. Helen enjoyed going to the farm, taking trips to Brooklyn, shopping at Uniques/ TJ Maxx/Marshalls and trips down South. Helen was an inspiration to her family near and far. Helen always greeted everyone with a smile and would brighten your day and make you feel good with her kind words of love and laughter.
Helen leaves to mourn one daugther Rita Showe of Elizabeth NJ, one son Al-Rafi Bunch and daughter-in-Law Angela Bunch of Springfield NJ, eight grandchildren (Juaquim Showe, Wadeeah Sweatte, Edward McCollum, Faaizah Sweatte, Sadeeah Bunch, Anansa Carthen, Yasmeen Sweatte and Jada Bunch. Kalima McCollum, Soniya McCollum, LaQuanna McCollum, Marqui Showe, Azzariya’h Palin, Edward McCollum Jr., Eli McCollum, Malani Showe and Na’siyah McCollum. And great-great Granddaughter Ariya’h. Three sisters Levy McRae (Red Springs, NC), Gloria Jean Peoples (Staten Island , NY), Mildred Cox (Staten Island, NY) and one brother Douglas Carthen Sr. (Brooklyn, NY). She also leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She will be greatly missed by all of us. Gone but never forgotten.
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