Frank & Bright Funeral Home

Helen Powless

Feb 11th, 1957 - Apr 6th, 2023

     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: