Jeanette Helms Runkle, affectionately known as “MaMa Net,” passed away peacefully on February 10, 2024, in Marianna, Florida. Born on January 23, 1932, in Colquitt, Georgia, to the late Auburn Houston Helms and Mary Eunice Parrish Helms, MaMa Net’s life was a testament to her strength, kindness, and unwavering commitment to her family and community.
MaMa Net was the beloved matriarch of a large and loving family. She is survived by her devoted son, Wilton A. Runkle; her cherished daughter, Peggy Runkle Tucker; her nine wonderful grandchildren and twelve precious great-grandchildren. She also leaves behind two daughters-in-law, Elaine Runkle and Stacey Runkle Collins, as well as three daughters by choice, Debbie, Carol, and Marilyn. MaMa Net was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Theodore Jeremiah Runkle, Sr., known as “Ted,” and two sons, Theodore Jeremiah Runkle, Jr. and Theodore Michael Runkle.
MaMa Net’s commitment to education was evident when she earned her GED, which allowed her to serve as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher at Chattahoochee, Greensboro, and Sneads Elementary Schools for over twenty years. Alongside her late husband, Ted, she owned and operated Runkle’s Laundry in River Junction, Florida, for many years, where she was known for her diligent work ethic and warm, welcoming presence.
A woman of great faith, MaMa Net’s life was filled with the joys of simple pleasures. She was renowned for her love of fishing and vegetable gardening, often spending hours picking and shelling peas and cutting okra to preserve for her family. Her 21-day sweet pickles were a beloved treat among friends and family. She was also a fervent Florida State Seminole fan, cheering on her team with the same passion she devoted to every aspect of her life.
MaMa Net’s legacy is one of love and education. She taught her family the importance of punctuality, hard work, and striving to do their very best. More importantly, she instilled in them the values of love, honor, and respect for one another. Her strong, kindhearted, and humble nature was complemented by her gift of gab, making her a cherished figure in her community.
MaMa Net’s passing leaves a void in the hearts of those who knew her, but her spirit will continue to live on through the lessons she taught and the love she shared with so many. Her unwavering dedication to her family was, without a doubt, her greatest achievement, and her memory will be honored by those who carry on her legacy of kindness, strength, and family devotion. Jeanette Helms Runkle’s life was a beautiful tapestry of service, love, and joy, and she will be deeply missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her.
In the words of Joseph Blinco, “No Sorrow touches man until it has been filtered through the heart of God.”
“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, beginning at 11:00 AM Eastern Time in the chapel of McAlpin Funeral Home. Interment will follow in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Chattahoochee, Florida. The family will receive friends Tuesday, February 13, 2024, from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM Eastern Time at McAlpin Funeral Home.
Flowers are welcomed and appreciated by the family or in lieu of flowers you may send a contribution to a charity that was near and dear to MaMa Net’s heart, The Special Olympics of Florida https://www.specialolympicsflorida.org/