Local Politics

Thousands expected to attend Helms' visitation

Posted July 6, 2008 4:36 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2011 10:16 a.m. EDT

— Thousands are expected to pay their respects Monday to former Sen. Jesse Helms, who will lie in repose starting at 10 a.m. at Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Helms, 86, died Friday in Raleigh. His cause of death was not released.

Helms will lie in repose Monday until 8 p.m. Helm's family will be at the church from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Hayes Barton Baptist Church, 1800 Glenwood Ave. A private burial will follow.

A condolence book will be available for the public to sign from Monday morning until Tuesday evening. The book will be sent to the Jesse Helms Center at Wingate University, his alma mater. (Share your condolences.)

Helms was a longtime member of Hayes Barton and attended services there for 67 years. He also served as a deacon for a while.

Helms was remembered Sunday by the church's congregation.

“When he was in town, he was always here,” deacon B.J. Warren said.

“I actually interned for him up in D.C. for a summer in between high school and college...He was a great man, a good solid conservative, a good southern gentleman,” church member Thomas Currin said of Helms.

Some people found Helms' conservative beliefs hurtful, when it came to race and sexuality. However, church members said at Hayes Barton, politics was always left at the front-door.

“I myself did not agree with him many times on political matters, but I always respected the courage of his convictions,” church member G. Wesley Williams said. “He was a good senator and a good citizen and I think he should be remembered in that manner."

“He was just a regular member here. There was no politics involved. ...He was just who he was,” church member Henry Warren said.

Gov. Mike Easley ordered all North Carolina state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Helms. Easley said flags will be flown at half-staff from Monday until sunset Tuesday in memory of Helms, who represented North Carolina in the Senate from 1973 to 2003.