Jesse Lee Helms, Sr. (June 7, 1909 – November 7, 1982), was a businessman who served as the 31st mayor of Greenville, South Carolina from the summer of 1979 until his death in office three and a half years later. He served from 1973 until his election as mayor on the Greenville City Council, partly in District 5 and also as an at-large member.
Helms operated Southern Foods Company. His son, United States Army Major Jesse L. Helms, Jr. (c. 1946-2013), worked in the company too until it was sold to PYA Monarch, after which the junior Helms was employed as an investment broker and insurance agent. Helms and his wife, the former Louise Phyllis Hunnicutt (1914-2008), a native of Maryville in Blount County in eastern Tennessee, also had two daughters, Ann H. Eastland of Greenville and Doris Louise Blair (1937-2006), a victim of cancer. The family was affiliated with the Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church of America, a conservative congregation in Greenville. The Helmses are interred at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Greenville.
In the 1980 presidential election, Helms was an early donor to former Governor John B. Connally, Jr., of Texas, who withdrew from consideration after amassing only delegate in the early portion of the campaign.