Promoted to Glory: Major Helen Sue Warnock Watts

Major Helen Sue Warnock Watts was Promoted to Glory on January 31, 2024, at the age of 86. 

Helen Sue Warnock was born in Tulare, CA on January 24, 1938, to parents Laurence and Louise Warnock. After the family moved to Oklahoma, she started attending The Salvation Army “Band of Love” which was held at the corps officer’s home located in the block next to her grade school. She also attended Sunday School with other children who lived in the same apartment building. Soon she was enrolled as a junior soldier and would later become a corps cadet, a senior soldier, corps cadet guardian, and acting young people’s sergeant-major. 

Helen Sue attended youth camps every summer at Camp Heart O’Hills until the year she left for the training college. During her teen years, she was a member of the Oklahoma Corps Cadets 500 Club and the Territorial Corps Cadets Honor Club. 

In considering her life’s work, her intent was to become either a nurse or a teacher. She once stated, “But I kept remembering the post in the corps chapel which said Who shall I send for Me—Here am I, Lord, send me. I finally said, ‘Lord, if You can use me as I am, I’ll go—but You’ll have to show me by making it possible.’” 

She entered the training college as a member of the Courageous session of cadets and was commissioned on May 26, 1958. The session’s scripture is taken from Joshua 1:9, “Only be thou strong and very courageous. Be strong and of a good courage; neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” That promise was always her inspiration. 

 Her undergraduate studies included English Literature, Sociology, and Psychology at the University of Alabama, the University of Maryland, and the University of South Florida. 

She served on the Child Welfare League of America from 1966-1971, as well as the Salvation Army National Women and Children Commission from 1968-1973. She attended the Brengle Institute in 1967 and was a delegate to the International College for Officers in 1981. 

Several of Major Warnock’s appointments during her 44 years of service included posts to Salvation Army Home & Hospitals in divisions. She served as an assisting officer in this capacity in Texas, Alabama-Mississippi-Louisiana, and National Capital & Virginia. She then moved to Day Nursery service in Maryland-West Virginia, first as assisting officer and later as superintendent. She next served again in Home & Hospitals, this time as administrator in Florida and then in Arkansas-Oklahoma. Her last three appointments were to the Southern Territorial Headquarters as director of the Officers’ Sick Benefit and Burial Fund Section and the Officers’ Health Service Department. 

Major Helen Sue Warnock retired from active service on April 1, 2003, and married Major Don Watts that same day. Majors Don & Helen Sue Watts were married over 19 years before Major Don was Promoted to Glory on September 5, 2022. 

Major Helen Sue Warnock Watts is also preceded in death by her parents, and brothers Don Warnock and Major Sam Warnock. 

Siblings surviving her include Pattie (Gerald) Beldon, Mary Warnock, Mary Sparks, Audrey (Rudy) Kosechequetah, June (Ben) Roy, Janice (Watson) Mitchell, Edith (Eddy) Morton-Kelch, and Carol (John) Milner. She also leaves two sisters-in-law: Beulah Willadene Warnock and Major Mary Warnock; as well as three generations of nieces and nephews. 

A Celebration of Life service is scheduled for February 5, 2024, at The Salvation Army in Oklahoma City, OK; followed by a graveside service in Muldrow, OK.