Long-time WMU leader Helen Fling dies

Helen Fling, 97, a longtime leader in Woman’s Missionary Union, died March 1. Her memorial service was March 6 at Mountain Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Associated Baptist Press

The wife of Pastor Robert Fling, she was president of the women’s auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention from 1963 until 1969, when she resigned to join her husband as a home missionary in Westchester County, New York, and then as a foreign missionary to Germany.

She returned to Birmingham as a home missionary appointed to develop new statewide or area-wide WMU organizations outside of the South between 1977 and 1984, the only time during a 60-year career of tireless promotion of Southern Baptist missions that she received a paycheck.

In 1967, she became the first woman ever elected to an office in the Baptist General Convention of Texas, serving as second vice president. She was nominated twice for vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1973 and 1974, but did not win. She also held the voluntary post of treasurer of the North American Baptist Women’s Union of the Baptist World Alliance.

Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas gave her an honorary doctorate in 1984. She moved to Texas in 2001 to live near her daughter, due to failing health. Survivors include her daughter, Sheila Fling of Driftwood, Texas; her son Michael Fling of Bloomington, Ind., and her sister, Jean Long Corley of Tyler, Texas.

Memorial contributions can be made to the WMU Foundation or to the Sheila Fling Scholarship at Texas State University.