Luther and Minnie Mason welcomed their fourth and ultimately youngest child, Helen Anita into the world on January 4, 1921. The family was rooted in the community of Roanoke, Virginia where Helen grew up. She excelled in school graduating with high honors from Jefferson High School in Roanoke. Her hard work and natural whit landed her a successful career as a legal secretary for a well-respected law firm. A favorite memory from days as a legal secretary was her meeting movie star John Payne and his wife in the law office. Despite her passion for her work and love of her community, when she met a handsome Army Sargent, Jesse Orville Bliss, her priorities began to change. After a flurry of post cards, letters, and photos exchanged across the Atlantic during WWII and across the US, it was settled the two were in love and Helen would follow her heart to Bakersfield. Jesse and Helen were married in October 1946. Shortly after the couple started a family with the birth of their two daughters, Vicki and Judy. Jesse and Helen next started a business together, opening JB's Market of Oildale in 1953. In 1976, they sold the market to embark on a retirement filled with road trips, cruises, and time with friends and family. After 55 years of marriage, Helen lost the love of her life in 2001. Helen's notable strength (of will and body) allowed her to adapt to a new routine and continue to enjoy time in her home, trips with her daughter Judy, and visiting with family and friends. Despite her recent battle with dementia, Helen maintained her strong will and most importantly impeccable sense of humor. She will be greatly missed by family and friends alike. Helen is survived by her daughter Vicki French of Petaluma, granddaughters Kristin and Meghan Hart of Santa Barbara, and (widowed) son-in-law Matt Hart of Visalia. She was preceded in death by her husband Jesse Bliss and daughter Judy Hart. Helen will be laid to rest at Hillcrest Memorial Park beside her beloved husband Jesse. A viewing will be held on Tuesday, March 22 from 9AM to 2PM with an informal graveside service to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Kern County's Meals on Wheels program.
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