Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper died Monday following a brief illness, according to a press release from the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference (TNDAGC).
Helper was appointed and elected as District Attorney General for the 21st Judicial District in Tennessee in 2008. She began her career in public service in 1998 and worked as an Assistant Attorney General before joining the District Attorney’s office. Helper served as president of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference from 2015 to 2016.
“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,” said Guy Jones, TNDAGC executive director. “Deepest sympathy to her family and staff. She will be terribly missed.”
The Williamson County Republican Party (WCRP) also made a statement on Facebook after news circulated that Helper had died.
“She was a strong woman, and she was kind,” said Cheryl Brown, chairman of WCRP. “She was a no-nonsense, straightforward and ‘get er done’ kind of person.”
Helper was an active member of many community organizations such as St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Lodge #41 Fraternal Order of Police, Keep Tennessee Beautiful Advisory Board, Williamson County Republican Career Women (WCRCW), Leadership Franklin Alumni Association, Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law Alumni and Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.
“Kim was a valued member of the WCRCW,” said Sherry Anderson, president of WCRCW. “She was someone who cared for her community and was always willing to volunteer when she was needed. Our club will truly miss Kim, and as a friend, I will miss her too.”
Professional acquaintances and personal friends alike feel the effect of Helper’s death.
“If I ever had a friend, it was Kim Helper,” said Debbie Barrett, a longtime friend. “She was always a strong shoulder to lean on when things were tough and a kindred spirit to laugh when times were good. In everything she did as a prosecutor and a citizen, she had integrity. Kim did what was right, not what was easy.”
Brentwood Police Chief Richard Hickey particularly remembers Helper’s support through the loss of officer Destin Legieza, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2020.
“We are filled with sadness at the passing of District Attorney Kim Helper.” Hickey said. “She was an incredible friend and advocate for the Brentwood Police Department. 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.”
During Helper’s tenure, the district attorney’s office has assigned a prosecutor solely to handle cases in juvenile courts throughout the 21st Judicial District, assisted in the addition of a DUI court and veteran’s court in Williamson County, and enhanced its prosecution of crimes against women and driving while under the influence offenses by adding staff dedicated to those cases.
To support the communities served by her office, Helper and her staff have provided supplies for flood relief, supported non-profits in the community and provided gifts for children of Recovery Court participants during the holidays.
Helper began her public service work in Tennessee in 1998 as an assistant attorney general in the criminal justice division before transitioning to the 21st Judicial District as an assistant district attorney in 2003.
She is a 1993 graduate of Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida. She also worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Tampa, Florida, from 1994-97.
Condolences from Community Leaders:
General Helper was a pillar of the Twenty-First Judicial District and a committed advocate for justice. She dedicated her life to public service and leaves behind an indelible legacy for which we are all tremendously grateful. My prayers are with her family, friends, and staff during this difficult time. I am grateful to have called her a friend and she will be truly missed.
Circuit Court Judge Deanna Johnson, Division IV
What an amazing lady, servant, leader, and friend. It’s hard to believe she’s gone. Her advocacy for our community and the warmth of her genuine friendship are two of the things that make District Attorney General Kim Helper simply unforgettable. People like her are one of a kind, and she’ll be immeasurably missed by anyone who was lucky enough to know her.
Deb Faulkner Chief- City of Franklin Police
Kim was a devoted public servant who exemplified the highest standards of personal and professional ethics is her service to our state and local community. I had the honor of first meeting Kim while I was serving as foreman of our county grand jury. She presented every case in a manner to insure fair and equal justice to the citizens of the 21st Judicial District. Kim’s passing is a great loss to her wonderful family and every member of our community. I will miss my good friend and especially her wise and trusted counsel.
Sam Whitson- 65th District State Representative
“I worked with Kim Helper for many years. Kim was an extraordinary District Attorney. She served the best interest of her community in a fair and impartial manner. Beyond that, General Helper was heavily invested in her family and her community. Her leadership will be deeply missed.”
Julian Bibb- Middle Tennessee Region Legal Counsel- FirstBank
General Helper was a consummate professional and a true public servant of the people of Williamson County. Her office set an example for district attorneys across the State under her leadership. She will be missed.
Circuit Court Judge Deana Hood, Division II
"The AbleVoices organization, photographers and their families are so saddened by Kim’s passing. We greatly appreciated having the opportunity to work with Kim and her commitment and enthusiasm for including and celebrating individuals with disabilities and their work in the Williamson County community.”
Jen Vogus, AbleVoices Founder and Executive Director
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