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Helen Marie (Simms) Bland gained her wings and was reunited with the Lord on January 12, 2023. She was surrounded by her Husband, DC Bland II, children, and her church family in Gilbert, Arizona. Her life would seem too short to many, but those of us who were blessed to know Helen understand that her existence and the impact she left on our hearts exceeds the quantity of time that she was here on Earth.
Helen was born on March 9th, 1970 to Charles Simms, Jr (1927-2013) and Ida Belle (Ezell) Simms (1927-2018), in Saint Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Rosati-Kain High School, in 1988, before attending Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana where she studied Psychology. Shortly after her time at Xavier, Helen moved back to Saint Louis where she continued her studies at Saint Louis University, graduating in 1999. While in Saint Louis, she married Robert Johnson. Although they later agreed to part ways, the relationship blessed Helen with four beautiful children.
Helen went on to pursue her career in education administration and take care of her family. She was a wonderful role model to her children and always stressed the importance of hard work. Helen’s most recent position at Arizona State University was a great example of her hard work. Helen worked as the Assistant Coordinator for Social Planning and Geospatial Sciences. Helen made sure to take time to have fun, too! Her children will forever cherish the many Six Flags trips, family vacations, and birthday parties she made happen over the years.
In 2016, she embarked on a beautiful life journey with the love of her life, DC Bland II, who she married in January 2019. Their union resulted in many adventures, including moving to Gilbert, Arizona in July 2019. Beyond all else, their children and their faith were the foundations of life. Having a mutual love for God, DC and Helen became members of Jehovah Shammah Apostolic Faith Church. Helen loved her church family and was very involved in her roles as church administrator and a member of the praise team.
She enjoyed music! Helen and DC spent much time together at various music events and concerts. She also inherited her parent’s love for southern hospitality and her mother’s skill in the kitchen. Helen’s famous gumbo was always a favorite. Knowing Helen is knowing that the city of New Orleans and the New Orleans Saints held a special place in her heart. Helen had a quirky sense of humor and an infectious laugh! No one can forget her silly sayings and the nicknames she gave her closest family and friends. When Helen became a grandmother to Mila and Aurora, it began a new chapter for her. Her grandchildren were her whole world. From the beginning, she spoiled her grandgirls. They will always be reminded how much Granny loved them.
Helen was a devoted mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, colleague and friend. We will find comfort in knowing she is now a part of God’s Heavenly Praise Team. She was kind and compassionate and loved tremendously. Helen will be sorely missed by all those that she has left behind, but will never be forgotten.
Helen was preceded by her parents, Charles & Ida, and her brother, Michael Simms. Helen is survived by her loving husband, DC Bland II; her daughters Ryanne (Deon), and Haylea; her sons Mackenzie (Haley), and Julien; her bonus daughter, Kennedy, two granddaughters, Mila and Aurora, three brothers, Charles, Stephen (Marcia), Martin (Linda); one sister, Catherine; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and her beloved puppy, Kona.