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1931 Helen Tharp 2024

Helen Tharp

November 13, 1931 — February 18, 2024

Nowata, Oklahoma

Helen (Highfield) Tharp, a woman of resilience and compassion, passed away at the age of 92 on Sunday, February 18, 2024. Helen was born on November 13, 1931 in Alluwe, Oklahoma. She was a loving mother, irreplaceable grandmother, pillar in her community and true Disciple of the Lord. 

Helen married Clifford “Ross” Tharp on December 30th, 1956. They made their home in Delaware, Oklahoma. Helen and Ross celebrated 50 years of marriage before his passing in 2007. Together they raised two boys, Steve and Kevin.

Helen was active with the Delaware United Methodist Church for most of her life. She spent many years as a Sunday school teacher, helping with the monthly breakfasts, quilting classes, and she especially enjoyed helping with the children’s after school program. She wanted everyone to feel the love of Jesus and she especially felt the call to minister to the youth of her small town.

She truly lived her sermon. She tried her best to be the hands and feet of Jesus. If she saw a need, she filled it. If she had it, she would give it. Her ministry was through her quilts, greeting cards, pies, phone calls, and filling countless unspoken needs.

Helen is probably best known for her quilts. Many organizations, schools, and clubs were the recipients of her quilts for various fundraisers. She donated many quilts to the Delaware School carnival when her granddaughters were in attendance. The popularity of her quilts helped to crown three Tharp carnival princesses. She maintained her connection to her school and classmates by assisting with the annual Delaware School reunion. Helen began donating a quilt to the annual reunion in 1989 and overall gave 32 quilts. She even made a quilt for every member of her Delaware High graduating class of 1950.

In recent years she became quite competitive with her son Kevin. Each enjoyed participating in local quilt shows, the Tharp’s often took home the top honors. Helen spent many years on the Nowata County Election Board. She enjoyed visiting with everyone on election day. She knew most everyone by name when they walked into the Delaware Methodist to vote. It was not surprising if she also knew your grandparents, parents, siblings, and second cousin twice removed.

Helen was also known for sending greeting cards, birthday cards, sympathy cards and cards for no real reason at all. She often would read an article in the newspaper and send a high school basketball player $21 for their 21 points, even if they didn’t know her.

Helen enjoyed spending time with her family. While her sons were young, they took many trips to Branson and Noel, MO. Even in her later years she enjoyed traveling with her sons. She traveled to Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York with son Kevin and recently took RV trips to Branson and Kentucky to visit the Ark with her son Steve.

She was especially proud of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She took absolute joy in watching their many basketball, softball, and baseball games. Through her recent heath struggles her one demand to her doctors was she needed them to make the right decisions because she had games to attend.


Recently Helen had moved to Nowata to be near her son Steve and daughter-in law Connie. He was known as her “Meals on Wheels” as he visited every evening to bring her dinner. His visits were specifically short on spaghetti night as she was not a fan and didn’t mind making that known.

Since moving to Nowata she had began attending the First Church of God with her son Kevin and daughter-in-law Beckey. She enjoyed the many familiar faces on Sundays.

Helen is survived by her son, Steve (Connie) Tharp, daughter-in-law, Beckey Tharp, Granddaughters, Christy (Kurt) Bashford, Pam (Scott) Pruett, Kimberly (Jeffrey) Stewart, Amanda (Amir) Almusawi and Cassie (Justin) Jones. She is also survived by great grandsons, Brandon Waggoner, Austin Pruett, Kaleb Bashford and Zane Almusawi, great granddaughters, Kaylee Bashford, Jayli Jones, Jenna Pruett, Zena Almusawi and Lila Almusawi.


She is predeceased by her husband Clifford “Ross” Tharp, son Kevin Tharp, daughter-in-law Sandy Tharp and granddaughter Amber Alspach.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen Tharp, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, February 25, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Benjamin Funeral Services

114 W Cherokee Ave, Nowata, OK 74048

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Funeral Service

Monday, February 26, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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Monday, February 26, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Mt. Washington Cemetery

Lenapah Rd, OK 74042

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