Helen E. Gwathney Carrington, also known as “Aunt Helen,” was a beautician.
She died May 26, 2012. She was 91.
She was born Oct. 3, 1920, to the late Blanche Jay and Albert Gwathney.
She was educated in the Philadelphia public school system. After high school, Carrington attended Apex Beauty Culture School where she obtained her beautician license.
In 1948, she married Frederick Carrington. Though no children were born to this union, they became parents to two children she raised, James Lambert and Denise Boggs-Lewis.
While raising her children, she worked at the Philadelphia Naval Base as a welder and ran a lucrative home-based hair salon. After her children went to high school, Carrington worked for the former Chilton Factory, Wanamaker’s and Strawbridge & Clothier through its takeover by May Company in 1996. She retired from Strawbridge & Clothier in 1999.
Carrington was a devoted Catholic. During her early years, she attended St. Charles Borromeo in South Philadelphia. After moving to West Philadelphia, where she raised her children, Carrington attended Transfiguration of Our Lord until its closing in 2002. When the parishes of Transfiguration & St. Carthage became St. Cyprian’s R.C., Carrington continued to be an active member until her illness.
As a young woman she belonged to a social club named, “The Over Twenty One,” which sponsored a young men’s basketball team called the Cavaliers. In 1963, Carrington’s daughter, Denise joined the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts under the direction of Joan Myers Brown. Carrington served as president of the Mothers Club for more than a decade.
Her family referred to Carrington as a regal, elegant woman who was known for style. According to her family, she had a domineering persona and was a “my way or the highway” person with a heart of gold: “All services performed by her (to the slightest detail) for herself or for others were done carefully, systematically to perfection,” her family said.
Upon retiring, Carrington started hand-stitching quilts. She continued stitching quilts until she was impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. After being unable to take care of herself, she went to live with her sister and soon after to Caring Heart Nursing Home. Both she and her older sister, Louise, resided at the nursing home.
Services will be held June 4 at St. Cyprian Catholic Church, 525 Cobbs Creek Parkway. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10. Burial is in Glenwood Memorial Gardens.
Slater Funeral Home handled the arrangements.