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Mr. James Lloyd Cody established the Helen S. Cody Scholarship through his estate as a memorial to his mother, Helen Stansell Cody. Helen was a 1940 graduate of the Asheville Normal and Teacher’s College, a sister school of the Asheville Farm School, which later became Warren Wilson College. She taught at Swannanoa Elementary and was an active member of Swannanoa First Baptist Church. It was Mr. Cody’s wish that a scholarship be awarded annually to a student in need of financial assistance to honor his mother.
Jim's sisters Linda and Shelia, who have followed in their mother’s footsteps to become educators, are both very happy that their mother was honored in this way. “My brother died at 60 and he left a gift to honor Mother through his will, because she gave her whole life,” explained Linda. Linda further explained that her brother was “just following suit with what our family does.” “Mother taught us to ‘give back’ to the community and to give of our time and resources.”
Jim, Linda and Sheila’s father died in 1964, when the girls were still in high school, and their mother, did her best to raise the three children alone and was able to put them through college. “Although she was very busy and often stretched financially, she was always conscious of giving back to the community,” explained Sheila. “My mother never complained. She made my wedding dress, and loved to make quilts and crochet and did all kinds of handiwork. She was a hardworking, loving person, an amazing financial manager and also a very giving person. We were very blessed.”
Linda further explained that, as a teacher, her mother always believed in the goodness of others and would always would give the child the benefit of the doubt. “Mother loved her students so much. She volunteered regularly at the school after she retired,” Sheila recounted. Inside her grade book, she had the newspaper announcement of Owen High School's graduation and circled her former second grade students' names when they graduated," Sheila described. “My mother led by example. It was evident in her friendships, her career and her church service. There was no criticism about who were and what we were doing. She did not reprimand us and she did not complain. My mother expected us to give our best as she did her best.”
Helen Cody also maintained friendships with women she knew from Asheville Normal Teachers College for her entire life. She loved the ANTC ladies and enjoyed working with them and continued to recieve letters from her friends, even in the nursing home. This is why Jim made the choice he did. He created the scholarship to honor mother and her love and involvement with ANTC. We feel honored that our brother would choose to do this,” Sheila explained. “It is wonderful.”
"I believe Warren Wilson College is preparing me for life in a way that few liberal arts colleges can. Because my parents are farmers and do not make a lot of money, I could not attend college without financial aid. I am honored to be a recipient of the Helen S. Cody Endowed Scholarship, and grateful to James L. Cody for establishing it."
-Emmet Fisher, Senior, majoring in Environmental Science
Through his estate plans, Jim Cody honored his mother’s legacy as an educator and as a person who believed in the importance of giving back to one’s community. Generations of Warren Wilson students will continue that legacy. You too can create a legacy by including Warren Wilson in your estate plans. For more information on bequests and other types of deferred gifts, please contact Don Harris or Janet Doyle at 828-771-2041.