Funeral services for Dr. Helen Fleming (Maxson) Cervini, 73 year-old Weatherford, OK resident, will be held Saturday, February 4, 2023, 10:00 A.M. in The Chapel of Lockstone Funeral Home with Robert Keeton officiating. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery under the direction of Lockstone Funeral Home.
Helen was born May 29, 1949, in Norwich, Connecticut and passed away Friday, January 27, 2023, in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Helen was born and raised in New England- Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. She was the eldest of the three children of William Edgar Maxson and Donna Louise (Curtis) Maxson.
Helen was a graduate of Middlebury College and received a Master of Arts from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. She received a Doctorate of Philoso-phy
in British Literature at Cornell University.
She taught at the secondary level and, after Cornell, at the University of Michigan.
In 1989, she joined the faculty of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where she remained until her retirement in 2015. Beloved by her students, she relished engaging them in classroom debate and discussion.
Helen published many articles and conference papers throughout her tenure at SWOSU, focused in separate seasons on the writings of Wendel Berry, Walt McDonald, and Caryl Phillips, among others. She served as President of SWOSU’s Faculty Senate and cherished many deep friendships with her colleagues. She also served as the faculty advisor to Sigma Tau Delta, an international excelled English honor society, and to the LDS Institute of Religion.
While at SWOSU, Helen met her husband Michael, with whom she shared thirty years of devotion and love.
Helen was a faithful and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She taught Sunday School at the local congregation for twelve years straight. Every month, she wrote personal letters to women in the Church to inspire and encourage them. Her faith gave her a second family and allowed her to face illness with calm and hope.
She loved the arts, especially music and literature. She wore the hippie mantle proudly and loved to listen to the greats of folk, Motown, Broadway, classical, jazz, early R&B, and rock and roll. She would often get a song or line of poetry stuck in her head for days or weeks at a time. As she used to say, her enjoyment of these lines was like eating fudge.
She was a warm encouraging voice for all who knew her. She showed people the respect of listening and encouraging without advising or correcting. As she returns home to God, the garments of His love should be comfortable and familiar on her shoulders.
Helen is survived by her loving husband and longtime caregiver Michael Albert Cervini, her son William Maxson Doolittle (Bergen) and her sister Ann Hiller (Maxson) Lewis (Brent), nephew Jonathan, and nieces Becca, Donna, and Jessica.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Stuart Brown Maxson, and her first husband Sidney Bartoo Doolittle, Jr.