Helen P. Tucker of New London, NH passed away on January 10, 2023, after her final battle with illness, concluding a life filled with teaching, learning, giving and loving. She will be forever missed.
Helen was born on May 12, 1939 in Waterbury, CT to John Henry and Elizabeth (Presher) Parker. She grew up on Green Mountain in Claremont, NH with her older brother, Randy, and younger sister, Edie. She graduated from Stevens High School in 1957 and went on to study Education at Wheelock College in Boston, graduating in 1961. She taught at Dondero School in Portsmouth, NH and spent several summers working in Claremont‘s Moody Park, where she became the beloved recreation leader for the young people of Maple Avenue.
Helen married Dr. Richard Rodgers in 1963 and moved to North Conway, NH. In 1964 they moved to Elkins, NH, where Richard started Pleasant Lake Veterinary Clinic and they raised four children. They purchased a cottage on Pleasant Lake in 1973 that was always a place of recreation and joy. Helen later built a home there. She married Bill Tucker in 1988.
Helen worked as an aide and substitute teacher at Kearsarge Elementary and Middle School before dedicating 21 years to teaching first, second and third grades, and Title One Reading at Toll and Richards Schools in Newport, NH. She adored all her students. She also worked at the College Sport Shop in New London, sharing her love of style and fashion with customers.
Helen believed in contributing to the community, serving various roles with the Elkins Chapel, the Ladies Benevolent Society, and the Pleasant Lake Protective Association. One of her favorite events was the annual LBS summer fair in Elkins, where she made, sold and ate lobster rolls, while mingling with fairgoers and volunteers. Helen also served as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of the New London Historical Society and President, Vice President and Secretary of the New London Service Organization, where she took great pride in the annual Third of a Century Award, helping choose recipients, interviewing them and composing their laudable stories. Helen was also a member of the New London Garden Club, the New London Hospital Auxiliary, SAU Staff Development, the NEA, the NHEIAP Test Development Committee, and the NH Veterinary Auxiliary.
Helen cherished her more than 40 years as a member of the First Baptist Church of New London. She most enjoyed Easter, Maundy Thursday and the candlelight Christmas Eve services. When illness limited her mobility, she streamed weekly Sunday services. Faith played a central role in her life and helped her overcome many difficulties. And in her last days, Daily Word prayers brought noticeable comfort.
Helen’s greatest love, after family and friends, was her home on Pleasant Lake, where she regularly communed with nature. She was an avid swimmer, most famous for ice-out swims in April. Her lakeside garden bloomed from April to October, her beloved St. Francis statue welcoming birds and butterflies. She never missed an opportunity to soak up the sun with a smile, whether from the beach or deck. Her awe of sunsets and moonlit nights never faded. She and Bill were dedicated cocktail cruisers, rounding the lake on their party boat each evening, spring through fall, waving to friends and fellow boaters. Helen loved the Fourth and all of its festivities, flares, fireworks, food and drinks. In later years, she could always be found on the plant-filled deck, reading, napping and waving at anyone passing by with her wide smile.
Anyone who knew Helen knew she loved clothes, jewelry and nail art. She had an eye-catching outfit for every season and holiday, Christmas sweaters being a favorite. Her jewelry collection had no limits and she wore it with flair. And her colorful nails always started a conversation. Anyone visiting her home would find happy plants in every corner and Annalee Dolls heralding the holiday or season. She was always celebrating the time of year, attentive to dates, sending notes to friends and family, asking how they were doing. She was a deft advisor on editing, wrote poetry for many years, and always had a book nearby. She read the Harry Potter series with her grandson, Trevor. She treasured many pets over the years, especially her Siamese cats and Labs.
Helen loved welcoming people to her home for good food, conversation and drinks, especially family and her dear group of girlfriends. She and Bill were regulars at Four Corners for many years, where she relished the chance to meet the staff and fellow diners, while enjoying a tasty meal. In the last few years, after moving to Hilltop, she could be found sitting on the back patio reading, admiring the tall trees and greeting neighbors. On good days, she’d be out wheeling around the neighborhood or town, her sons or a caregiver helping her along, always chatting, remarking on the season and weather, pointing out something and catching up with people who’d stop to say hello.
Helen was predeceased by her parents, her brother H. Randall Parker, her son, Jeffery P. Rodgers, and her sister-in-law, Carol Tucker. She is survived by her husband B. William Tucker of New London, her daughter Elizabeth and her husband, LaVelle Dickens of Denton, TX and their children, Trevor and James, her sons Jason P. Rodgers of Moultonborough, NH and John M. Rodgers of Sunapee; three stepchildren, Debbie, Richard and James, six step-grandchildren, her sister Edie and her husband, Hal Posselt, of Storrs, CT, her sister-in-law Gail Parker of New Boston, one niece and two nephews as well as their spouses and children.
The family will hold a memorial service in May at the First Baptist Church of New London, NH, followed by a graveside gathering at the cemetery in Elkins, NH.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Helen’s name to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (cmtausa.org), the Pleasant Lake Protective Association (plpa.net), the New London Service Organization (PO Box 42, New London, NH, 03257) or the organization of your choice.