Helen Curtis Barefield, 89, died June 30, 2012, with her family by her side at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, TX. She was born June 22, 1923, in Youngtown, Ohio, to Anna and Nick Kuras. Her father was a steel worker in Youngtown and her mother came up from Ukraine as a bar and restaurant owner. Helen worked at their family business and graduated from Rayen High School in 1942, where she was a member of the Latin club, History club, English club, and Commercial club. She also served as class officer and was on the annual board. She attended college at Ohio State, Penn State, University of Michigan and UCLA. She met and married Emmett Monroe Barefield, Jr., who was employed by Sinclair Refining Company and they resided at the Pinewood Inn Suite Hotel in Silsbee. Mrs. Barefield worked for General Fire Proofing Contractor - contracted by the United State Department of Defense Inspector QAQC War Division between 1940-1945 on the assembly line and inspected Stabilizer and Aircraft. Helen was the owner of the Pinewood Inn and Suites since 1961, where she devoted much of her time. She was past president and an active member of the Golden Triangle Hotel Motel Assn. She also belonged to the Hardin County Tourist Bureau and was instrumental in the Kirby Hill Home purchase by KCAE. Mrs. Barefield's motel has been the hub of commercial and industrial lodging, where she was very thankful for their lodging and loyalty. Helen appreciated the tourism industry and enjoyed being your Hardin County hostess and Big Thicket Ambassador. She was also instrumental in getting the Big Thicket proclaimed as a natural forest by funding lobbyist in Washington, DC. Her friend, Lance Rossier (Mr. Big Thicket) showed Helen and numerous scientists areas of the Big Thicket where certain plants grow no where else on earth but there in the Big Thicket. Helen enjoyed the game of golf and won numerous trophies and tournaments during her college years. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Silsbee, belonged to the local Garden Club of which she was a past president, was involved in conservation efforts and other civil, social and benevolent organizations. Her interests included family, gardening, reading, and watching CNN. She was one of five sisters. Mrs. Helen Barefield is survived by sons, Philip Lee Barefield and Rodney Grant Barefield. She leaves behind several distant relatives and a host of friends, who played important roles in her life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 845 Hwy 96 S, Silsbee TX 77656. A memorial service will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, July 7, 2012, at R S Farmer Funeral Home in Silsbee. Everyone is invited to the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall immediately following the service for a reception and time of fellowship with the family. The Barefield family would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Kumar, Dr. Alford and the medical staff at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital, New Century Hospice Team, and Debbin Robson RN and staff. A special thank you to all the family and friends and Pinewood Inn employees for their support and loving prayers. The Barefield family appreciates your services.
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Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on July 5, 2012