Helen Tharp

Obituary of Helen Barbara Tharp

Helen Barbara Tharp 1916 – 2020 Helen Barbara Tharp went to be with her loving Lord and Savior on December 7, 2020. After a brief illness of pneumonia she passed on with her dear friends Jim and Lee Ann McClenahen by her side. Barb is survived by a nephew Bill Sharp from Victoria BC, Canada Barb was a very private person. She was born in Ling Yuan, North China (north of Peking Beijing) and beyond the Great Wall. Her parents Edwin James and Margaret Tharp were missionaries and the family lived there until World War II when they were arrested on December 26,1941 by the Japanese and sent to Kobe, Japan. In 1942 the family was repatriated to South Africa in exchange for Japanese diplomats from Australia. The family sailed on the ship Tatuta Maru from Shanghai to Portuguese East Africa via Bombay, India en-route to South Africa. She lived in Durban, South Africa for several years before moving to Chicago, IL USA. Barb was preceded in death by brother Gilbert, sister Ruth, brother Robert and dear friend Heinz Kirchner. Barb was home schooled and also took courses from England. Barb as a teenager started writing stories for children about her life in China and stories of nature. Her stories were published in England, Canada and the US. Her stories were published for various magazines and had one translated into Japanese for a Japanese Sunday School paper. Living in Chicago she worked over twenty-five years in various publishing and public relations companies. She assisted her brother Robert in writing and publishing his book titled “They Called Us White Chinese” which detailed the family”s life in China. While in Chicago Barb became a life long Cubs fan. While listening to the games, you would often find her knitting or making tiny “birds” out of colored wool for the Mission Field. Life was a joy to Barb. She loved long walks, working in her English garden, and enjoying the many birds that came to the feeders. She loved animals, especially dogs, and had great interest in supporting the church Mission fields. She attended the First Baptist Church in New Monterey and then later attended Mayflower Presbyterian Church,in Pacific Grove, CA. Barb and Heinz were given the title “The Green Team”at Mayflower Presbyterian Church because of their expertise in gardening and landscaping. They volunteered their time and energy for many years taking care of the grounds.. We are grateful to the staffs at Forest Hill assisted living unit and Carmel Hills Care Center for their kindness and love to Barb. Barb spent many hours interacting with both staff and residents of both assisted living centers speaking in her second language Chinese mandarin. It was a joy to listen to this petite English lady, Barb, speak Mandarin fluently.

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