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MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Helen Hylton, 87, a longtime resident of Martinsville, VA, passed away on March 18, 2014 of complications from a stroke. Mrs. Hylton was born Helen Ruth Watson in Patrick County, VA, on July 13, 1926. She graduated from Blue Ridge High School in Patrick County, where she was a star basketball player. After high school, she studied at Radford College and then taught briefly at Blue Ridge Elementary. As a young woman, Mrs. Hylton met and married the love of her life, Bernice Basil "B.B." Hylton, of Woolwine, VA, and the couple moved to Martinsville. Mrs. Hylton worked at Dupont until she retired to raise her two children, a son, Leon Basil Hylton, and a daughter, Donna Watson Hylton. Both of her children, who were outstanding athletes like their mother, attended college on scholarship and went on to rewarding professional careers. When the children were in high school, Mrs. Hylton received nursing training at Martinsville Memorial Hospital and then worked as a private-duty nurse, providing in-home care to those in need. In her younger days, Mrs. Hylton was an outstanding bowler (her high score, proudly displayed on her mantle to this day, was 245); she was a wonderful gardener; and she and her husband loved to dance. In her later years, Mrs. Hylton lived in Northern Virginia, near her children and grandchildren. She liked to collect coins, make pancakes and cornbread, and watch tennis and old westerns on TV. She was determined to live independently, and did so until the very end. Mrs. Hylton is deceased death by her husband, Basil Bernice Hylton; her father, Jacob Lee Watson; her mother, Geneva Mae Matthews Watson; two sisters, Clara Bell Watson Bottoms (George Bottoms), and Virginia Frances Watson Letterman (Roy Letterman); and two brothers, Gideon Earl Watson (Helen Watson) and Arthur Lee Watson. Mrs. Hylton is survived by a daughter, Donna Watson Hylton (Bobbi Bernstein); a son, Leon Basil Hylton (Sandy Hylton); two granddaughters, Stacie Victoria Hylton and Stephanie Ann Hylton; one sister, Carol Watson Chambers Vincent (Ronald Delano Vincent); one brother, Franklin Delano Watson (Laura Watson); two nieces, Karen Watson Phillips (Gary Phillips) and Linda Chambers; one nephew, Gerald Clifton Letterman (Kaye Letterman); one great-niece, four great-nephews, and two great-great nephews. The family will receive friends and relatives at Moody Funeral Home, in Mount Airy, NC, on Thursday, March 20, 2014, from 6-8 pm. Services will be conducted on Friday, March 21, 2014, at 2 pm, at Unity Presbyterian Church in Ararat, VA. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Online condolences may be made at

Published in Mount Airy Newspapers from Mar. 19 to Mar. 20, 2014
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