Marie Helene "Helen" Mechali Phelps, 95 years young of Roper, NC went home to be with her Lord early Saturday morning, January 14, 2023 from her temporary residence at Cherry Point Bay Rehab Center in Havelock, NC after a bout with Covid and pneumonia that had put her in Carolina East Medical Center for a week.
Born Marie Helene Mechali in Oran, Algeria on September 20, 1927, she was raised most of her young life in Casablanca, Morocco. It was there where she took a job as a clerk on the U.S. Army base, and would meet young Joseph Harrell Phelps from Eastern North Carolina. He was a "tele-typist" on the base, but not so good at his job. So he used his best charms to get Helen to do his work for him. It wasn't long before "Joe" was asking her father's hand of blessing for them to be married. Although he was not Jewish, her father agreed and they were married on February 15,1947. Shortly afterward, they returned via boat to America, where Helen would experience a major "culture shock". However, she fell in love with Joe's sister, Blanche, who was like an older sister to her and helped her acclimate to her new environment. All his siblings treated her as family. Most referred to them as "Bud Harrell" and "Sis Helen".
Helen and Joe (known as "Harrell" back home) would soon begin their own family with the birth of a son, Maurice Harrell Phelps. Later she would give birth to two daughters, Esther Marie, and Judith Anne. The rest of their married life would be spent in the small town setting of Roper. It was there that this newly-wed Jewish girl would learn of Jesus, the Messiah and trust her life to His care. Over the years, they would watch as their son and daughters moved away, married, and started families of their own. Helen was blessed to have six grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren, all who are still living. She was pre-deceased by her husband of 58 years in 2005.
Known as "Mama", "Grandma", and "Meme", she was loved by all her family and is held in highest esteem not only by them, but all who knew her. On Tuesday, we will gather to celebrate her life - a life that has impacted all who knew and loved her.
Memorial service will be held Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 12:00 Noon at Roper Pentecostal Holiness Church. Family will receive friends at 11:30 a.m. at the church prior to the service. Burial will be a private family service.
Arrangements are by Maitland Funeral Home, Plymouth.