Lubbock- Helen Katherine Williams Kinzbach, aka The Meems, bounced into the world on January 9, 1926 in Topeka, Kansas and into the loving arms of her parents, Lem Cary and Edna Myra Williams and her big brother, Jim. Eleven years later, they were joined by her brother, Bob, and subsequently by the "baby," Bill.
Helen attended the demonstration high school that was housed within the Education Department at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College in Nacogdoches, TX, and then enrolled in the college where she earned an Education degree with a minor in Art. She would want you to know that in college, she played the leading role in Noel Coward's play, Blythe Spirit. According to her memory, she had a different date every night of the week "after the boys came home" from WWII. She was voted Senior Favorite as well as the Choral Club Beauty nominee. She married William Charles "Dobo" Kinzbach on March 28, 1948.
Helen began her teaching career at the tender age of 20 in Port Arthur, Texas. She taught third grade in Carthage, Texas, and sixth grade science and art in Robinson, Texas. Her classroom was alive with hands-on science experiments and messy art projects. While teaching school full-time, she completed a master's degree in Education. She retired after 44 years in the classroom. She kept ALL of the artwork her students neglected to take home - drawings, paintings, paper mache creations and clay figures. Helen saw creativity, beauty, humor and value in children's art.
If you knew Helen personally, she had numerous photos of you in her volumes of photo albums with your name and the occasion scribbled on the back. You probably sat in her kitchen and visited over a piece of poppy seed cake and a cup of coffee. You most certainly took "the tour" of her beautiful yard, lush with colorful blooms. She lavishly loved her friends and family. People of all races, socioeconomic statuses, and beliefs enjoyed meals at her kitchen table set with placemats, cloth napkins and freshly cut flowers. Helen didn't want to just meet people. She wanted to truly know them.
Helen mightily loved and faithfully served her church, First Methodist, in Waco, Texas. Her greatest delight was singing in the choir under the direction of Donnie Balmos. The Prayer and Praise Sunday School Class was her second family. Former pastor, the late Dick Freeman and his wife, Lois Marie, were two of her most caring and devoted friends.
While she was not a civic leader, Helen was very involved in the Waco community. The Meems rocked babies in the nursery of the Talitha Koum Institute one day a week and helped build houses in Four Corners, NM during church mission trips. While in her 70's, Helen participated in a homeless experience simulation and spent a night on the ground in an alley of downtown Waco with her fellow participants. That experience led her to become a champion of the homeless. She was quick to provide home-cooked meals for neighbors and friends recuperating from surgery or mourning the loss of a loved one. Helen was willing to offer support to anyone in need. Her answer to every call for help was simply, "I'm on my way!"
Love, laughter, peace and music filled her lovely home on Rockview Drive in Waco. It was the place of Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas Eve buffets, birthday cakes and chocolate pies with mile-high meringues. The branches of her favorite magnolia tree still echo with the sound of her grandchildren's laughter. As adults, her children and their children were pampered during their weekend visits with soft lace-edged sheets on the beds, sweet dream notes left on their pillows and grilled cheese sandwiches made with thick slices of "Mimi Bread."
During her 80's, this tiny force of nature could swim a mile and pitch her own tent. Armed with her Tilley hat, daypack, favorite walking stick and great determination, she hiked treacherous trails in many national parks with her grandchildren. She was a proud member of Waco Outdoor Women and gave her daughters detailed reports of their weekend camping adventures.
Helen lived her life intentionally before books were written about intentional living. She set holiday tables a week in advance of the gathering and carefully laid out her clothes, shoes and earrings a week before a trip. She kept a loaf of Mimi Bread in her freezer just in case someone might need to be loved on. She studied her Bible and spent time in prayer every morning and night.
The following people cheered when Helen entered the gates of heaven: Kathy Kinzbach Brewer (daughter), Charles Kirk Kinzbach (son), her parents, her 3 brothers, Kristen Kinzbach Rookman (granddaughter), Shawn Williams (nephew), and her dear friend, Leonard Saunders. Those left to tell her story are her daughter, Carolyn Lackey, Alan Lackey (son-in-law), her grandchildren (Jonathan Lackey, Bryce Lackey, Reed Lackey, Charles Kinzbach and Kelly Brewer), her nieces, a nephew and, her best friend, Wanda Williams (sister-in-law).
To the family of the lucky lady that moved into Meems' room at Promised Land 3: You moved your loved one into a new place during a pandemic. You don't have the luxury of staying by her side as you and she get to know the staff. Her care will be loving, respectful and delightful even when you're not looking. The staff is especially gifted to care for her. And, she "inherited" a room that is filled with love. You made the right choice. Be at peace.
Hospice of Lubbock, Meems kept you on your toes during the last year or so. I cannot begin to tell you what a huge difference you made in her life and in mine. I sing your praises to all who will listen. Thanks to Marble & Co. for donating flowers to Hospice to share with people like my mom.
Helen would be tickled pink by memorial donations sent to either the Church Under the Bridge (713 N. 18th St, Waco, TX 76707) or Hospice of Lubbock (3702 21st St, Lubbock, TX 79410).
There will be a drive-by visitation on Friday, August 21 from 7PM-8PM at Second Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. Helen will be tucked in beside Kirk and Kathy at Ridgeview Memorial Park in Allen, Texas at 11AM on August 23. This service is open to the public. Masks and distancing are required.
For information regarding the prerecorded celebration of Helen's life, which will be available for viewing beginning August 22 at 11:00AM, please visit carolynlackey.com