Sister Helen Paramore, widow of Elder James M. Paramore, remembered for life of dedicated service

Sister Paramore, wife of the late Elder James M. Paramore, died Sunday, Nov. 26, at age 91

Helen Heslington Paramore, the widow of Elder James M. Paramore, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, died Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Murray, Utah, at the age of 91.

She and Elder Paramore faithfully dedicated their lives to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and spent decades in Church leadership callings. Elder Paramore died March 17, 2022, shortly after their 70th wedding anniversary.

In an interview following his call as a General Authority Seventy, Elder Paramore spoke of the “real joy” that was a byproduct of total commitment to the gospel. He served as a General Authority Seventy from 1977 to 1998 and in the Presidency of the Seventy from 1987 to 1993. He also served in the Sunday School general presidency from 1981 to 1983. At his side through it all was his wife.

In Elder Paramore’s first general conference address, during the April 1977 priesthood session, he expressed gratitude for his wife. “Brethren, my wife is such a wonderful woman. In all of those years, she has sustained me so much; and I would hope that as members of the priesthood, as we hold leadership roles, we will … remember our wives.”

The two were called as mission leaders of the Belgium Brussels Mission in 1966 while in their 30s. Six weeks after moving with their five children — ages 3 to 13 — to Europe, Sister Paramore gave birth to their youngest child.

Helen and President James M. Paramore
Sister Helen Paramore and Elder James M. Paramore. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Despite having six young children to take care of, “she attended conferences with me and the children — week after week, even when she couldn’t understand the language,” Elder Paramore recalled. She “supervised the auxiliaries and learned sufficient French so that she could conduct the auxiliary meetings required. She was a real inspiration to the people.”

Helen Heslington was born in Milford, Utah, to Richard A. and Lucille Heslington. She met James Martin Paramore while attending Brigham Young University. 

Elder Paramore told the Church News in an April 1977 article that he was immediately impressed with Helen’s loving and sweet personality. “She has an unusual way of seconding, encouraging and being supportive without being aggressive,” he said.

They were married Dec. 7, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple and are the parents of six children and the grandparents to 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Throughout their marriage and Elder Paramore’s career, the two built several homes together. “She and I have done much of the labor on the homes; it’s been a joint cooperative effort and has brought us closer together. We’ve learned and achieved some things and have had some experience that many others might not have had the opportunity to share,” Elder Paramore said.

Following Elder Paramore’s service in the First Quorum of the Seventy, the Paramores presided over the missionaries and volunteers in the Family History Department at Church headquarters from 2002 to 2005. Through the years, Sister Paramore served in many callings, including in the presidencies of the ward and stake Primary, Young Women and Relief Society organizations.

Sister Paramore loved to gather her family together, especially on Christmas Eve for a special dinner where they prepared a traditional French meal learned from their mission to Brussels. According to Elder Paramore’s obituary, their family enjoyed boating, fishing, swimming, the beach, BYU sports and annual summer trips to Southern California.

Funeral services are pending.

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