Mary Anne Helms, former Princeton gift shop owner, dies at 82

Mary Anne Helms, the owner of the former Princeton gift shop, “A Little Bit of What You Fancy”, passed away peacefully at the Princeton Medical Center in Plainsboro, on May 6. She was 82.

Mary Anne was born in Jersey City in November of 1938 to Anne Miriam and John Hehir.  Both parents were retired New York City school teachers who moved to Princeton in 1976.  Mary Anne grew up on Long Island and graduated from the Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead, New York.  She then enrolled in Georgian Court College in New Jersey and graduated from Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Newton, Massachusetts in 1960.

She spent the summer after graduation on a student tour of Europe. Following a short stint as an elementary school teacher, she moved to Manhattan. She worked on Robert F. Kennedy’s senatorial campaign and moved to Washington, D.C. when he was elected.  She moved back to Manhattan, after a short stay in Washington, D.C. and went into the design business.

In 1976, she moved to Princeton to live with her parents. In 1982, she met and married Charles B. Helms of Princeton, who died in 1984. In the 1990s, Mary Anne opened her gift shop on Nassau Street, After the closure of the shop, she focused her energies on caring for her mother, who passed away in 2003.

She then moved to Middletown, Rhode Island to be near her friends from Newton College. In 2005, she moved back to Princeton, where she lived until she died.

Predeceased by her parents, she is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, John J. Hehir, Jr. and Roswitha, of Skillman, a niece Angelique Michelle Loveday of Jacksonville, Florida, a nephew John J. Hehir, III of Dallas, Texas and grandniece Jennifer Loveday Rowley and grandnephew, Nicholas Loveday, both of Jacksonville, Florida.

A funeral mass at St. Paul Church, Princeton was held Monday, May 10, followed by  burial in St. Paul Church Cemetery.

Memorial contributions, in her memory can be made to the Montgomery Township EMS, PO Box 105, Belle Mead, NJ 08502.