Mrs. Helen Crichton Moncrieff McCabe Ragland, 89, passed away on April 23, 2020 in Lebanon.
Mrs. Ragland was an extraordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life. She was born in a children’s hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland during the depression in 1930. Her parents, Margaret Lillico Russell McCabe and John McCabe, unable to care for their child, left Helen at the children’s hospital. At a very young age, Helen entered the foster care system where she met with much adversity. From the few memories she shared with her family, her children learned that Helen’s early life was not one of love and happiness. However, as she would do over her the course of her life, Helen persevered. She studied hard and took advantage of every opportunity. At 16, she entered a business school to be able to support herself. She eventually joined the Women’s Royal Army Corps in the United Kingdom. All that Helen ever knew of her family was that she had one brother, Johnny McCabe and one sister, Dorothy June McCabe. However, Helen lost contact with these family members during World War II and was never able to reconnect with them.
In 1957, Helen met a handsome, young, American soldier stationed in England. That young soldier was Carl Ragland, Sr. from Wilson County, Tennessee. They fell in love and were married in England. Shortly thereafter, Carl was transferred to a USAF base in Turkey. Once again, Helen’s life moved forward. She joined Carl in Turkey. Over the next few years, Carl and Helen had three children, Karen born in Turkey, Carolyn born in Texas, and Carl Jr. born in England. Helen was always pleased that Carl Jr. had been born in her native country. After retiring from service, Carl Sr. and Helen returned to Wilson County. There, Helen focused on creating a happy home for her family.
Helen loved being a mom and a homemaker. She learned to cook “southern style” and treated her family and her friends with wonderful meals and dishes. She took great pride in keeping her home immaculate and working in her yard to create works of beauty. Her greatest joy was to see her family grow. She rejoiced in her daughter Karen’s marriage to Joe Baumgartel, Jr. and her son’s marriage to Gina Walker. From those marriages came Helen’s treasured role as Nanny. She adored her grandchildren, Joseph and Kelly Baumgartel and Molly and Jenny Ragland. It seemed that all the happiness and love Helen did not find in her young life was poured upon her beloved grandchildren. They, in turn, loved her and learned so much from her.
Helen lived to see her beloved grandchildren become parents. Joseph Baumgartel, III married Jennifer Sanders, and Kelly Baumgartel married Christopher Schwartz. Once again, there were more family to love. Her great grandchildren, Kinley and Colin Baumgartel, and Grayson and Annslee Kate Schwartz, were so precious to her. What a big family she now had!
Helen placed her faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized at Adams Avenue Church of Christ. She loved her church family. Helen often prepared food for church gatherings and comforted shut-ins. Her handsome soldier passed away in 2000. Helen and Carl had always taken care of Carolyn, their special daughter, and that bond became stronger after Carl’s death. During the last few years of Helen’s life, she suffered from dementia, and Carolyn became her refuge and constant companion.
Her family expresses their deepest gratitude to the caregivers, nurses, and staff of the Chronicles of Elmcroft in Lebanon. The Memorial Service, conducted by Joe Baumgartel Jr., is 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, 2020 in the chapel of Sellars Funeral Home, Lebanon TN. Inurnment will follow in Bethlehem Cemetery, Tucker's Crossroads TN. Visitation will begin at noon on Wednesday. Please make Memorial Donations to AutismSpeaks.org. Sellars Funeral Home, Lebanon TN, 615.444.9393.