Helen Dam was receiving therapy when she told them that she wanted to check out and go home. One of Murfreesboro's cheerleaders and encouragers passed away Friday (12/14/2018) morning. A memorial service will be 3:00 o'clock this coming Tuesday afternoon, December 18, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church, corner of College and Spring Streets.
She and her late husband, Rev. Herman Dam, brought life to several Middle Tennessee Presbyterian congregations (PC-USA): Murfreesboro Northminster, Buffalo Valley, Mattie Smith Memorial, Readyville Cripple Creek, Milton Hopewell, Stones River and Woodbury.
Helen was known for her quick wit and gifts as a pianist and organist. She is best remembered for always helping others. Even in her later years, she would phone and encourage others.
Murfreesboro resident Larry McElroy, who serves on the Middle Tennessee Presbytery, said, "She was a special, joyous, talented lady. She was the organist for Stones River Presbyterian Church in the mid 1980s. She would bring my elderly aunt with her. She was a loving care giver to Herman. Thanks be to God for her living and working among us."
Murfreesboro community leader Mark Blackwelder commented, "Above all, Helen was a prayer warrior. No matter the issue or how busy she was, she would stop and listen to your needs and pray for you for whatever the need. She was always there for you. She loved her family and church family. She was the person you wanted to be on your side in real estate transactions because you knew she was in your corner. She was very strong willed and stood up for her convictions.
Most of all she loved her lord and savior, family and church family at First Presbyterian Church."
He noted, "It hurt to see her suffer over the past several years as her health failed, but she kept the faith. She was determined to stay home rather than be in a nursing home. With the exception of the past few weeks and her families chagrin, she did just that."
Blackwelder concluded, "It has been an honor and privilege to call you my (Dam) friend."
Bart Walker, who is an elder at First Presbyterian, commented, "Helen and Herman got several of us together for breakfast and fellowship on a monthly basis. Friendships created those decades ago are still strong, even though many have scattered to other parts of the world. She really cared about others and let you know it."
Helen Honored On Great Plains of OK
The impact Helen Dam had on the lives of others was the topic of sermons to congregations as far away as the Great Plains of Edmond, Oklahoma.
Reverend Dr. Eric Laverentz told his congregation in Edmond, "I received a phone call on Friday. A woman with whom I was close at the church I served I in Tennessee went home to Jesus. Helen Dam is her name. Her husband Herman was a pastor whom I have mentioned before. He preached at my installation for my first call as a Senior Pastor. Herman prayed at that service that I would receive of double portion of the Holy Spirit. True to this wit when I thanked him he said, 'Don't thank me. It means you'll have double the work too!' "
The former Murfreesboro associate pastor continued, "The second time I ever talked with Helen, we had only exchanged names before, she said to me, "You can just consider me your Tennessee mama. If you need anything and I mean anything, you only need to ask."
"I was a little taken aback because I barely knew her. We had only talked once before and I chalked up her words to Southern kindness or just a simple over-promise. But the years proved she meant every word. She simply chose to love me not because of who I am or because I have earned it. Frankly in those days I didn't bring much to the table. But she chose to love because she barely knew me, but she chose to love because of who she is. Time and time again, as a single pastor living alone, when I needed something, Helen and Herman were there. She let me raid his pastor's library--over his objections. She prayed for me unceasingly. She made sure I had a house to live in. She opened up her home on Saturday a month for a small group to meet, pray with me and hear me out. She threw parties and receptions not only for me, but for my family when we returned to Tennessee. She interceded on my behalf repeatedly. 10, 15 years later she could call and see how I was doing and let me know, "Eric, I pray for you and Jen every day." I don't know that I have experienced such unconditional love from anyone outside of my family."
"Helen wasn't with me in spirit or sentiment or mere words. She was with me in real time. She simply chose to share her life with me."
Eric concluded, "She learned to love like this because it is how Jesus loves her."
A memorial service will be 3:00 o'clock this coming Tuesday afternoon, December 18, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church with Reverend John Hinkle officiating. There will be a reception in the church' Common Room after the service. A private burial will take place at Evergreen Cemetery prior to service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to First Presbyterian Church Prayer Room Ministry