July 19, 2006
Helen Vann Eckler Browning, 86, of Albany, died Monday July 17, 2006 at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
Her funeral service will be at 10 AM Thursday, July 20, at Kimbrell-Stern Funeral Directors. The entombment will follow later in Crown Hill Mausoleum. Rev. Stephen O'Neal will officiate.
A native of Grady County, Mrs. Browning had lived in Albany most of her life. She was a dedicated employee of Phoebe Putney for 49 years and considered her laboratory co-workers part of her extended family. She achieved 50 years as a member of American Medical Technologist.
Her co-workers found her an inspiration as she worked the last few years confined to a wheelchair, the result of an injury suffered 55 years earlier; caused by drag racing teenagers.
She refused to allow her physical disability to limit her and took great delight in travel. Around Mother's Day every spring, a grandson provided a trip for her, her daughters and a granddaughter. She took a helicopter ride over a volcano in Hawaii and visited Rome and Paris. Inspired by the recommendation of a beloved great-nephew, Josh Barronton, Las Vegas became one of her favorite destinations. She loved the beautiful hotel lobbies and the wonderful shows.
As a Baptist, she expressed her faith by many acts of kindness toward others. She had a special love for her family, especially children. She raised several grandchildren: Donald Hammock Jr. (Hobo), Joeanna and Garner Eckler, and her great-granddaughter, Darian Eckler, all of whom brought her special joy.
She was lovingly cared for in her home by her oldest son, Joe Eckler, who drove her to work every day and tended to her every need.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Irvin and Mabel Hobby Vann; a sister, Frances Vann; 3 brothers: Irvin Vann Jr., Harold Vann, and Carl Vann.
Survivors include 2 daughters: Phyllis Eckler Saylor (Jerry) of Bradenton FL, and Joy Eckler Ballard of Orange Park, FL; 2 sons: Joe Mack Eckler Sr. of Albany and Jimmie Lee Eckler (Wendy) of Pasadena TX; 14 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great grandchild; 2 brothers: Alvin Vann (Hilda) of Sasser, and Sherman Vann (Eleanor), of Virginia Beach, VA; her favorite sister, Nancy Vann Barronton (Tom) of Valley Grande, AL; 3 sisters-in-law: Earline Vann of Edison, Anita Vann of Columbus, Deanie Holland of Albany; and a host of nieces and nephews.