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Helen Powless

Feb 11th, 1957 - Apr 6th, 2023

Visitation: 5 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at Frank & Bright Funeral Home in Flora

Memorial Mass:  11 a.m. Friday, April 14, 2023, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Olney

Interment:  St. Stephen Cemetery, Flora


     Mary Helen “Heidi” Powless of Olney

     On April 6th, Helen left this world gracefully; being held by her children and surrounded by loved ones as she transcended to the heavens.  She was born February 11, 1957, in Flora, Illinois, the daughter of James Carroll and Virginia Lucille (McGannon) Sulsberger.  Helen married John Dale Powless II on October 5, 1985, and together they raised three children, Cord, Heidi, and Taylor.

     She had an unbounding love for people, especially those who might be overlooked or less privileged.  One of her favorite positions was working in special needs education.  Helen never met a stranger and made friends everywhere she went, connecting with everyone in the room.  She has dear friends scattered throughout the United States, many were made as she lived in New Mexico, Kentucky, Louisiana and Illinois.

     Helen was a lifelong cheerleader.  First with the Flora Wolves, then the OCC Knights, and cheering on her New Orleans Saints.  A tried and true fan, rooting them on when the SAINTS were the AINTS, to the days of becoming Super Bowl champions.  Most importantly, Helen was the biggest cheerleader for her husband and her children.

     Helen did everything by leading with heart. She was known for her sense of humor, contagious laugh, and smile.  This grew and was nurtured by her family.  Helen was one of nine Sulsberger children.  Having lost her own mother at a young age and being raised in part by her siblings, she was later known as “Mama Helen,” a mother figure to many.  Helen loved to entertain and had an open-door policy to all. She thrived in the heart of her home, the kitchen, playing her favorite music, dancing, cooking, and always surrounded by roars of laughter.  Helen’s talents for cooking were second to none with some of her signature meals highlighting her Louisiana roots.  She loved to joke and was known for having a dry sense of humor with a touch of sarcasm.

     She often stated her best achievement in life was her family and children.  Helen was not only a mother to Cord, Heidi, and Taylor, but a best friend.  She has always been their biggest cheerleader, and now their guardian angel.

     She is survived by her husband, John Powless II; her 3 doting children: Cordell “Cord” (Emily) Powless, Heidi Powless, and Carroll “Taylor” (Michelle) Powless; siblings: Jim (Sandy) Sulsberger, Jane (Phil) Henson, Pat Ridgeway, Dan (Sally) Sulsberger, Lou (Beth) Sulsberger, Bob (Becky) Sulsberger, Ginny (Steve) Rudy, and brother-in-law Jason (Laura Jeanne) Powless; and several nieces and nephews.  She will be ushering in her first grandchild, Violet Josephine Powless, who is set to arrive in May.

     She was greeted in heaven by her parents, Carroll and Virginia Sulsberger; sister, Connie Kirby; her in-laws, John Powless and Deloris Powless, and a brothers-in-law: Bill Ridgeway and H.E. Kirby.

     Visitation will be from 5 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at Frank & Bright Funeral Home in Flora.  A memorial mass will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 14, 2023, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Olney, with Father Mark Stec officiating.  Interment will follow in St. Stephen Cemetery, Flora. Donations are suggested to St. Joe School in Olney and will be accepted through the funeral home.  A last request from Helen was to have a Celebration of Life with date pending.  To best honor Helen, dance like no one is watching, take time to call an old friend, and deep belly laugh with those you love.  To share a condolence or memory, visit:


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Rick and Trudy Zimmerman Stanford

April 8th

We are so sorry to hear of the loss of such a great friend. Helen loved life and she loved her family beyond compare. Music and dancing was also a part of who she was. Fly high my dear friend...until we meet again, dance on. ❤️

Kent Wells

April 8th

I’m so sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with Helen and all of the family.

Bud & Linda Martin

April 8th

Our sympathies to the entire Sulsberger family in your loss. Helen was always smiling and was fun. She’s gone way too soon. She will definitely be missed by all who knew her. My heart hurts for each of you as you’re still dealing with the loss of Connie and now Helen. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with y’all during this sad and trying time. RIP Helen❤️

Fred & Doris Ricer

April 8th

John and family, so sorry to hear that Helen has passed away. Our sincere condolences to all of you and the Sulsberger’s. Thinking of you all with prayers. May our Heavenly Father comfort you and your families at this time.

Debbie King Casell

April 8th

She was a ray of sunshine in life and brought happiness to all she met. I enjoyed spending time with her at the All 70's Reunion. That smile and laugh will be missed. My condolences to John and children, and the Sulsberger and Powless families. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Cindy Foerster

April 8th

There are no words I have to express to take away your broken hearts. I loved working with Helen at the Richland County Elementary School. Her big beautiful smile and he laughter was so contagious. May the Good Lord wrap his loving arms around all of you! My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Love and Hugs! Harold & Cindy Foerster

Willie and Dana Johnson

April 8th

Sorry for your loss Our condolences

Jeannie Holloway Orr

April 8th

I’m so sad to see this. Helen and her mischievous smile will be missed by many, but she’ll be welcomed in heaven by many loved ones. RIP my friend! 💔

Charlie and Patty Peters

April 8th

We're so very sorry to hear of Helen's passing. We'll keep your family in our prayers.

Renee Jackson

April 8th

Helen was a bright light, in our lives, she will be missed by all who loved her!

Shaun Hagenseiker

April 8th

I'm so sad Helen left us so soon. Her million dollar smile and vivacious personality will carry on in our hearts forever. Sending heartfelt thoughts and condolences to her entire family. I, and so many others will miss her dearly. ❤️

Kim Collins Ojeda

April 8th

Saying goodbye is never easy, but especially to someone as lovely as Helen. May God wrap his loving arms around her family at this time.

Tim Shirar

April 8th

Grateful for the the chats an visits we had.heaven has truly gained an angel

Sandy (House ) David

April 8th

I was so sad to hear of the passing of my ole friend Helen. My sincerest condolences for the entire family at this time. You have my deepest sympathy . Wishing you peace, comfort, courage, and lots of love at this time of sorrow. My heart goes out to the family.

vicki laird

April 9th

So very sorry to hear this. I love the Sulsberger family as my own. As I've seen others say " Dance, Dance Helen. You taught me the "bump" in the 60's!

Mark and Debi Hilliard

April 9th

Deepest condolences to Helen's family. She will be missed.

Steve and Nancy Mink

April 9th

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. A beautiful soul with a beautiful family.

Terry Igert

April 10th

It never matters if someone dies suddenly or you know it is going to happen soon because of illness, it hurts deep in your soul!!! I have so many memories with Helen!!! Rick and I are praying for you all!!!

Vince Guerrettaz

April 10th

John and my Sulsberger friends, my prayers and condolences to you all. So very sorry to hear this sad news. Helen reached out to me at a hard time in life, for which i am so grateful. May she rest in peace in Heaven.

Mary Reynolds

April 10th

My condolences to the family ❤️🙏❤️

Lisa Erbacher

April 10th

John and family..I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful memorial on Helen with much more love too numerous to mention. May God comfort you all...

Phil & Chris Wolfe

April 10th

So sorry for your loss.🙏🏻

Maureen Tolliver

April 10th

John, so sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family

Becky Stanford Stocke

April 10th

My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. Helen was always such a kind loving person and she will be missed.

Gary & JoAnn Ernst

April 10th

So so sorry to hear of Helen's passing. Such a special lady & friend. Sending our love & prayers to the family.

Bob and Brenda Beard

April 10th

Bob and I were very sorry to hear of Helens passing! She had such a zealous for life and kind heart! I know how deeply she will be missed. Please know you have our deepest sympathy! Sending healing hugs and love your way, Bob and Brenda Beard

Doug and Nancy Mills

April 10th

So sorry to hear of Helen's passing. Our prayers to all the family

Russell & Denise Anderson

April 10th

Prayers for the family. Cannot express our sympathy. May God cover you in comfort

Karen Lewis

April 10th

Helen was a special person and friend to all. She is gone to soon. John, their children and all your family are in my prayers.

Rick Schmidt

April 10th

So very sorry to hear of Helen’s passing Prayers for her family

Mike & Kayla Anderson

April 10th

Sorry for your loss. God Bless & Prayers.

Mike & Deb Frost

April 10th

Our thoughts & prayers to the family. So sorry to hear of Helen's passing. 🙏

Cathy Zuber

April 11th

John, Cord, Heidi & Taylor, I am sorry to hear about the passing of Helen. I remember and cherish the St. Joe days with our children. Helen, you were a true friend to all of us. You are in my thoughts and prayers 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Larry and Becky (Buchanan) Ice

April 10th

Lauren, Genevieve, Dominic, Ginny, and Steve, Our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your aunt and sister. We are so very sorry. Many prayers have been said on your behalf during your time of grief. Sending our love to all of you.

Jack & Freda Stanfield

April 10th

We so sorry to learn of Helen’s death, she enjoyed going out to Lee (Yank) & Roxie’s Wattles when young, enjoyed being on the farm, gathering eggs, chasing chickens, while her Dad & Mr. Wattles worked on oil well. Prayers for her Family

Danny, Brenda Bradham

April 10th

Our prayers go out to the family. May God wrap his arms around you and Comfort you all.

Carl and Brenda Hendrickson

April 11th

So sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. She was a wonderful lady. She will be missed. Prayers for John and family.

LeeAnn DeClerck

April 10th

So very sorry for your family loss of Helen. She always had a smile, a laugh and made everyone feel welcome in her presence. She will be missed.

Steve and Lynn Wilfong

April 11th

Words cannot express the sadness we feel for your loss. Seems like we were all family when we lived in Flora. Our deepest sympathy to all of you. Much love

Pam and Galen

April 10th

Helen would light up every room with her smile, and laugh. We send sympathies to all the Sulsberger families and the Powless family at your loss.

Kevin and Nancy Seals

April 10th

I am sorry for your loss. Helen was a kind soul, always had a smile for every one. Helen will be dearly missed. She is free from all worldly pain, Helen is free. I am sure she already knows Violet! May God bless you all. ((HUGS))

Fred & Lynne

April 10th

Our sympathy to the all her family and friends.

Darva Jones

April 10th

Sending prayers and love to family! 🙏🏼💔 I remember meeting Helen on the stairwell at OCC! Our deep voices made us friends forever!💖💖 I will treasure good memories always Helen! ❌⭕️🙏🏼

Mark and Daryla Stoltz Maxwell

April 10th

John and family, We are so very sorry to hear of your loss. We know Helen will be missed very much and by so many. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.🙏🏼

The Baltzells

April 10th

We will all truly miss Helen's beautiful smile. God bless and comfort you all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Cape Cod Family

April 10th

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time. What a wonderful person inside and out. She always had a smile on her face, and she was always so proud of all her children. She loved her family so very much. Very strong gal, and she for sure passed that onto you all. Xoxo

Joan Dunn

April 11th

John,Cord,Heidi,Taylor and family! So sorry for your loss! I And my late husband Jerry loved Helen very much! I miss hearing from her! Also Her siblings,Lou,Beth and all Sulsberger families ! So sorry for you loss! Cherish your memories! Love and prayers to all!Joan

Jane Potts

April 11th

I ate lunch with Helen sometimes at ERES in Olney when we were teachers there. Her “left overs” from the night before resembled gourmet meals to the rest of us and we always wanted to know how she made such delicious smelling meals. Her sense of humor was great and I enjoyed being around her to hear her stories. She will be missed by so many.

Steve and Nancy Mink

April 11th

Keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers. Fly high Helen.

Larry and Debbie Douthit

April 12th

Our deepest sympathy and prayers .

Donna Hess Struble

April 12th

Asking God to wrap His loving arms of comfort around the Sulsberger &:Powless families & give you the peace that passes ALL understanding 😥🙏

Steve and Linda Spicer

April 11th

We extend our heartfelt sympathy to both the Powless and Sulsberger families.

Kevin and Sheila Bice

April 12th

So sorry to hear of Helen's passing. She was always fun to be around and I, too, have many good memories of our junior high and high school years. I know she will be missed.

Alan and Norma Buck

April 11th

Sympathy is extended to The Family. Sorry for Your Loss.

Angela Davis

April 11th

Cord, Taylor and Heidi. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your sweet mother. I know she was so proud of you all. God has truly gained an Angel. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Pam (Glassford) Smith

April 11th

My heartfelt sympathy to the Powless and Sulsberger families. Rest in peace Helen and may God give comfort to all those who loved her.

Larry and Donna Milner

April 11th

So sorry for your loss, thoughts and prayers for the family.

Dave Dunnigan

April 11th

Pat, so sorry for your loss, also the Family & Friends of Helen May she rest in peace🙏🏻

Kelly Carwile

April 11th

Helen you will be dearly missed you are a wonderful person ,mother and friend to all thanks for all you and your family did thru the years lots of hugs and prayers for you . You definitely earned those wings my heart goes out to you and your family

Jim and Patsy Conley

April 11th

To the Powless and Sulsberger families, we offer our deepest sympathy. May the face of the Good Lord shine upon you and give you peace.

Joe and Jane Gilliland

April 11th

We are just so very sorry for your loss. Helen will be remembered fondly by so many people..really by all who had the pleasure to meet her or get to spend any time with her..she always had a smile for everyone and we all loved her quick wit and infectious laugh! Tho it had been some time since I had seen her.. my memories of our earlier years and the fun we had are still clear in my mind..She will be sorely missed. We will keep all of her family and her many friends in our prayers.

Steve & Chris Gilbreth

April 12th

Thinking of you and wishing you peace and comfort. We left Flora years ago but will never forget the kindness of the Powless and Sulsberger families. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Claire (Caulfield) McCullough

April 13th

Thinking of your family. Helen was a treasure that shared happiness wherever she went. Your family exudes the love that she showed and I am thankful to have known you all. Sending my best wishes to cope with your loss.

Jacki Pickel

April 12th

Prayers for the whole family.

Tim Burnett

April 12th

John and kids, my condolences and prayers for you all in your time of loss.

Pat Burt

April 12th

Helen certainly was a cheerleader and a good one at that! She was a talented and positive member of the Flora Wolves cheerleading team. My condolences to the family.

Vickie,allen hanneken

April 13th

My prayers are with the family at this difficult time,Helen was a wonderful person,going to be missed by many.

Jeanne Walsh

April 13th

My Dear Sulsberger Family. I was so sorry to hear from Lynnie of the loss of Helen. Right now, I’m not sure I ever recognized the loss of Connie. Please know I’m sending my deepest sympathy to all. I have nothing but sincere condolences to all for your losses. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Ron and Donna Gambrel

April 13th

Prayers for comfort to the family. I loved her smile and she never met a stranger. She will be missed.

Deb & Ted Zimmerman

April 12th

Our deepest sympathies are extended to John and the Powless and Sulsberger families. Helen’s vivaciousness will be missed. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

Sam & Ramona Anderson

April 13th

Our condolences to her family. Danny Sulsberger you and your family are in our prayers. May your sister rest in peace. 🙏🙏

Jami Lewis

April 13th

So sorry to hear about Helen. Keeping you all in my prayers during this time.

Linda Campbell Jones

April 14th

Sorry for your loss. Sending prayers and hugs . She was a beautiful lady leaving lots of memories.

Robert and Mark McCarty

April 14th

Anna Hoenes & Becky Pumo

April 14th

Prayers and love as you celebrate your Mom’s life.

Mona Etchison

April 16th

So sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. My sympathy for all her family.

Marcia Craig

April 17th

I am so sorry for your loss! Keeping you all in my prayers!

Diane (Johnson) Kalkowski

April 19th

I’m shocked and saddened to hear this news. John, my heart goes out to you and the kids. I’m thinking too of Ginny and the other siblings. I’m so very sorry for this huge loss in your wonderful family.

Edith Childers Edwards

August 17th

I will always have many fond memories of Helen. She was a very kind and thoughtful person, always wanting to help others. She lived a life devoted to her family. I send heartfelt prayers to all of her family.



Brenda Bullard
Rick and Trudy Zimmerman Stanford
Gina Douthit
Clara Booth
Wayne Eastin & Diane Johnson
Micheal W. & Kristal G. Engelmeier
Bud & Linda Martin
FTHS Class of 1970
Larry Frost
Kent Wells
All 70's Reunion
Debbie King Casell
Mike & Deb McKinney
Shaun Hageneiker
Brenda & Gary Miller
Don, Jane and Darren Delaney
Bill & Jill McDonald
Dave and Linda Thompson
Vince and Linda Salyers/Vandyke
Jim and Carolyn Taylor
Jane Janes
Dana & Barbara Milligan
David Bryden
Pamela Pourchot Buchanan
Diana & Greg Rutland
Frank Norma Hargis
Chuck & Nancy Buchanan
Steve & Ruby Barnes
Bob and Brenda Pierson
Marilyn Stanford
Gina Martin
Linda Harrell Judd
Parvin and Carolyn murbarger
Steve & Carol Oestreich
Doug Briscoe
Gary & Terry Lane
Chris Williams
Bruce & Nannette Richards
Neal & Janet Fehrenbacher
Dennis & Paula Frutiger
Casey &Debra Eastin
Holloway Family
Barbara and Henry Gill
Connie Hilderbrand
Kevin & Denise Edmiston
Cheryl McCarty
Randy & Lisa Hargis
Charlie and Patty Peters
Steve & Diana Sessions
Ron and Mary Anne Ayers
Donald &Trudi Herdes
Sammie Wickiser
Nancy Travis
Tim &Deb Shirar
Carla Eastberg
Doug and Cathy Briscoe
Dee Anne Lamb
Steve Hosselton
Don & Mary Ellen Knapp
Jim and Linda Grove
Mary Anne Pittman
Class of '74 Flora High School
Delberta Bowen
Peggy Coble
Doug and Linda Dugger
Bill and Cindy Deimel
Sherry and Tony Luquette
Dana Hosick
Gary and Jane Timm
Nancy Lewis
Abra Howe
René Kauder and Family
Lisa Deimel
John Wintermann
Kevin and Linda Ray
Todd Henson
Gloria Woolever Chambers
Pam (Garrett) Brown
Steve Norma Anderson
Lowell & Brenda K Showalters
Glenda Cooper
Mary Lou Rodgers
Shannon Rutland and Family
Bryan & Gayla Land
Bill Bryan
Nanci, Zane, & Lane Thompson
Larry and Becky (Buchanan) Ice
Barb Williams
Chad & Elizabeth Bayles
Terry Igert
Ken Jennings Jr
Jeanne Walsh
Jan Jennings
Troy&Kim and Carson Welty
Tony and Janice Randall
Betty Tucker Simmons
Walterene. Pearce
Esther Walker
Barb Bright
Mary Reynolds
Cindy mcneely
Tara Race
Margie Bogle
Tina Henson Branham
Doug and Nancy Mills
Dave and Linda Thompson
Karen Lewis
Peggy Nichols
Bernie and Rose Born
Jane Wingert
Phil & Chris Wolfe
Suzanne Acree
LeeAnn DeClerck
Peggy Lowry Gibson
Jan Bryan Peterson
Alan & Charlotte Hickox
Steve and Nancy Mink
Jean Eskew
Shaun Hagenseiker
Brian & Tina Pieplow and family
Becky Stanford Stocke
Mike & Julie Nichols
Kevin & Susan Moore
Donnie & Kathy Hale
Keitha VanBlaricum
Dean and Jill Lewis
Norman Philli[ps
Earl & Sherry Phillips
Mike Krutsinger
Donald and Robin Brooks
Carolyn (Phelps) Barnes
Tasha Thuftedal
Steve and Terri Woolever
Kathy Coyle
Cinda7 Roth
Preston and Marilyn Parish
Mike Dickey
Chris (Jackson) Barnes
Clay Snyder
Mike & Deb Frost
Kathy 'Gertie' Griffith
Larry and Sue Kramer
Bob and Marlene Smith
Cindy Lou Tate
Mike and Melody Hardy
David & Diane Hemphill
Peggy Shroyer Leigh
Ron and Donna Gambrel
Dorothy Uebinger
John and Deana Devore
Carl & Dana Zimmerman
"Mamma Dot"
Steve and Pam Runyon
Bonnie Osborne
Steve and Donna Smith
Robert & Janice Weidner
Dave and Janet Braman
Rose Kerr
Theresa Workman
Pam (Glassford) Smith
Angela Davis
Rita Noblet Cook
Joann Stanford
Bruce Cook
Douthit Larry & Debbie
Mary Hutchens
Dave & Judy Dunnigan
Kelly Carwile
Dan Kerr
Gary Lehman and family
Alesia & Victor
Donna Hess Struble
Mike and Emily Putbrese
Jim and Aleta Tackitt
Steve & Chris Gilbreth
John & Ursula Friday
Nancy King snd Andy Smith
David and Sue Burt
Allen Cosner
Sam & Ramona Anderson
Randy Wells
Yvonne & Johnny Garza
Marilyn Yates
Mick & Kathy Mason
Rex Fitch
Diane (Blaydes) Prince
Becky Pumo
Mona Etchison
John & Lisa Haycock
Kim Collins Ojeda
Mike Patridge and Jean Guerrettaz
Tom and Chris Cantwell
Scott and Donna Erwin
Mike and Kathy Kitley
Cindy and Roger Cook
Ken & Tammy Haven
Kevin hudgins
Dana and Janet Franklin
Mark and Debi Hilliard
Mark Dunnigan
Gary and Sherrie Kittle
Susan Allison
Bruce & Robbin
Dan & Cheri Gill
Steve and Nancy Mink
Doug & Marsha Hockman
Darrell and Debbie Gummert
Justin and Ember Kabbes
Edith Childers Edwards


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Frank & Bright Funeral Home
and Cremation Services

500 North Main Street
Flora, Illinois 62839

Phone : (618) 662-2141
Fax: (618) 662-4600
Email: [email protected]

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