Williamson Co. District Attorney Kim Helper dies

The 63-year-old died after a brief illness, according to her office.
WSMV's Sharon Danquah reports.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 11:15 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) - Long-time District Attorney General Kim Helper passed away late Monday night following a brief illness, her office and the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference confirmed Tuesday.

“It is with great sorrow that we share the passing of District Attorney General Kim Helper. General Helper was a well-loved mother, wife, friend, mentor and community leader. She served the 21st Judicial District with distinction and honor as the elected District Attorney General for 15 years,” Stacey Edmondson, Deputy District Attorney General, said in a statement. “General Helper served the State of Tennessee for 25 years this month. Her imprint on this community and the State of Tennessee will be felt for years to come.”

Dozens of Williamson County leaders reacted to Helper’s death. County Mayor Rogers Anderson said he’s heartbroken for the Helper family.

Edmondson said Helper’s husband notified her last week that his wife had been facing a sudden illness. The 63-year-old Helper died on Monday night.

“General Helper’s service and devotion to justice and the people of Tennessee was unmatched. She dedicated her life to this work and for that we owe her our deepest gratitude,” Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference Executive Director Guy Jones said in a news release. “Deepest sympathy to her family and staff. She will be terribly missed.”

Those working in the district attorney’s office are devastated. Many knew Helper as a lively, caring and selfless district attorney.

Edmondson said Helper worked with several community organizations helping dozens of people in need.

“She enjoyed giving back to the community. She was the epitome of a public servant. She always put the community at the top of her list, but she was a fabulous mom and a loving wife and a great friend,” Edmondson said. “The number of roles that she filled in our community and the number of people that she dealt with on a daily basis and helped is massive. What she did every day was always put others first.”

Helper has served as the district attorney general for the 21st Judicial District since 2008. The district included Williamson, Lewis, Hickman and Perry counties until 2022. Williamson County became its own judicial district after the 2022 election. Helper was appointed to fill the seat of Ronald Davis in 2008 after his death. She was elected to serve the remainder of his term in 2008 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2022.

“We are filled with sadness at the passing of District Attorney Kim Helper. She was an incredible friend and advocate for the Brentwood Police Department,” Brentwood Police Chief Richard Hickey said in a statement. “General Helper and her staff saw us through some of our darkest hours with grace and professionalism when we lost Destin Legieza. Kim always served with kindness while continually searching for justice. We are praying for her husband Gerry, her daughters Renee and Abby, and all our friends at the District Attorney’s Office.”

Originally from upstate New York, Helper began her career in public service in Tennessee in 1998. Prior to her service as District Attorney, she served in the attorney general’s office and as an assistant district attorney.

A dedicated public servant, Helper was an active member of numerous community organizations and served on the finance and audit, legislative, and family justice committees for the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference. Helper served as the TNDAGC representative to the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors, as well as on the Trial Court Vacancy Commission and the Governor’s County for Judicial Appointments. She served as President of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference from 2015 to 2016. She was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Lodge #41, Fraternal Order of Police, Keep Tennessee Beautiful Advisory Board, Williamson County Republican Career Women, Leadership Franklin Alumni Association, Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Alumni and Beta Sigma Phi Society.

Helper is survived by her husband, Gerry Helper, and two daughters. Visitation with the family will be from 4-8 p.m. at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 3009 Columbia Ave., Franklin. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Helper’s memory to any of: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Franklin; the Nashville Predators Foundation; Williamson County Animal Shelter or St. Bonaventure University.