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Mary Helen Anderson (1914 - 2011)

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Mary Helen Anderson, one of Brevard County's most productive volunteer leaders, passed away on November 9, 2011. She had been a resident of the Courtenay Springs Village of Merritt Island following the death of her husband, Col. T.C. "Andy" Anderson. She had been selected as "Woman of the Year," "Woman of Achievement," "Historic Woman of Brevard," and honored in many other ways for her volunteer work by county organizations.

She was born on July 24, 1914 in Pittsburg, PA to Arthur W. and Helen V. (McKee) Steed. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Speech from Miami University of Ohio where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She moved to New York City after graduation where she started a career as a model. In 1939 she married Townsend C. Anderson, a young Army officer. During the war years, she moved with him, leading an exciting life, through various posts throughout the world including stays in Paris, Rome, Belgrade, and Cairo. Retiring from the Army, Col. Anderson and his Lady moved to Merritt Island where he worked for space-related employers including TWA and Bendix.

Mary Helen distinguished herself as a member and officer in such organizations as the Brevard Museum, Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Salvation Army's Domestic Violence Shelter, Merritt Island Woman's Club, United Way, and Junior League. One of her primary interests beginning in 1964 was the Merritt Island Presbyterian Church where she served as a deacon and elder. She was selected as the first woman Moderator of the St. Johns Presbytery. She went on to serve in many capacities in the Presbytery and also in the Florida Synod of the church with its entities such as Florida Presbyterian Homes.

She is survived by a sister, Martha Seaman, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mary Helen was a treasured friend and role model to so many in Brevard County and she will be sorely missed. It was a privilege to have known her.

Visitation will be held from 4-6 PM on Wednesday, November 16 at the Wylie-Baxley Funeral Home, Merritt Island. Services will be held at 3 PM on Thursday, November 17 at Merritt Island Presbyterian Church, 600 S. Tropical Trail, under the direction of Dr. Shepp Lawrence. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the Salvation Army's Domestic Violence Shelter, Cocoa Branch, to the Merritt Island Presbyterian Church, or to another in memory of Mary Helen Anderson.

Arrangements entrusted to Wylie-Baxley Funeral Home.

Published in FLORIDA TODAY on Nov. 13, 2011
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