Helen Deborah Kaye Gomez Buckley
1930 – 2017
My mother Helen Deborah Kaye Gomez Buckley was the only child born to Eunice Kaye Wilkie and step-father Alvin Wilkie. Helen was unaware of her birth father until later in life and was unable to spend time with him. Helen was born on October 18, 1930 and lived on Peckham Road with her mom, Aunt Isabel Kaye Wordell, Aunt Irene Mae Kaye Kaye and Uncle Stanley Kaye. She married Leonard Vincent Gomez on February 14th, 1953, moving to Colebrook Road next door to her parents and lived there until her death on July 23rd, 2017 at the age of 86. Two years after marrying, Helen and Leonard started a family; Kathy Ann was born in 1955, Donna Irene in 1958 and Bryan Leonard in 1965. Donna was the first baby born on New Year’s Day that year and my Mom would always say how very appreciative she was of her Aunt Irene who helped her while she was caring for 3 year old Kathy. That is how and why Donna was given her middle name. She was a Grandmother to David and Scott (Donna’s sons) and Great-Grandmother to Hayley, McKenna and Kyla (David’s daughters) and Jaden (Scott’s son).
Our house on Colebrook Road started as three tiny rooms (a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen) and as my parents were able to save money, they would build additional rooms; one room at a time. Today, the house consists of a bathroom, three bedrooms, kitchen, living room, dining room and a long hallway. I remember my Mom as always being a hard worker. She never believed in doing anything halfway; she always taught us to give 110%. She always held multiple jobs to make ends meet. At night, she would help my Dad who worked as a Mechanic, repair vehicles for extra cash in a double size garage they built. As the children aged, we cleaned houses for the wealthy at Westport Harbor and took in their laundry to iron. After divorcing in 1973, my Mom was hired by Globe Manufacturing in Fall River as an Executive Secretary. She thoroughly enjoyed that job and was very fond of her supervisor Mr. Rogers. She continued to work hard, successfully bringing up her children on one salary, although I remember how difficult that time in her life was for her, emotionally and physically. This was definitely the biggest obstacle she had to face. My Dad was my Mom’s world and she struggled to move on. She used to joke that when she met my Dad, she took him off the streets and on their first date, my father drove all the way to New York to buy her a cup of coffee. She finally adjusted to her new life and on September 9, 1984, she married James Buckley.
A memory I have, that seemed so different from other people, was that my Mom disliked kittens/cats and the color blue. What she did love, was knitting and made sweaters and baby clothes for anyone who needed them. She was very happy to display the handmade articles of clothing to anyone who came to visit. She never left home without her knitting bag. My Mom and Dad were avid square dancers. Each weekend they would go to Chet’s Barn on Pottersville Road (now Crowther’s Restaurant) and dance the night away. I remember other couples watching in awe; they were a sight to see! Sometimes my sister, brother and I were allowed to go with them; I remember sitting along the wall just watching and feeling so proud that they were my parents! Helen was a member of the United Congregational Church at the Commons and volunteered as the Auction Recorder at the Annual Church Fair each August for many years assisting her cousins, Auctioneers Chester (Chet) Wilkie and her cousin Richard Wordell. She enjoyed attending Maundy Thursday Service at the United Congregational Church and Easter Sunrise Service each year with Bryan, Jimmy and I. To this day, Easter Sunrise Service is still a tradition for Bryan and me.
My mother was very proud of being a lifelong resident of Little Compton! She attended the Katherine B. McMahon School and one of her greatest accomplishments was that she never missed a day of school in all 12 years! She also was the recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) award. This award recognizes individuals who possess qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools and communities. I am happy to say, that I also received the same award when I graduated 8th grade from the Wilbur McMahon School.
I would like to believe that my mother will be remembered as an intelligent, hardworking, dedicated, considerate woman. She was a wonderful mother and as difficult as times were; as I grow older, I recognize ever more she did her best in all she encountered in life!
Donna Gomez Silva