Helen Geanakis Howell Porterfield walked into the arms of her Heavenly Father on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Helen was the youngest of four little Greek girls born to Gerosimos (George) Geanakis, a Houston restaurateur and Cleo, a homemaker; she being the only one of the four girls to have been born in a hospital. Being the baby and 10 years younger than her oldest sister, Virginia, she (admittedly) was spoiled. She loved to tell the story of starting school a year late because she didn't want to go to school so her Mama didn't make...
Helen Geanakis Howell Porterfield walked into the arms of her Heavenly Father on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Helen was the youngest of four little Greek girls born to Gerosimos (George) Geanakis, a Houston restaurateur and Cleo, a homemaker; she being the only one of the four girls to have been born in a hospital. Being the baby and 10 years younger than her oldest sister, Virginia, she (admittedly) was spoiled. She loved to tell the story of starting school a year late because she didn't want to go to school so her Mama didn't make her go. Virginia was like a mother to her. As the story goes, Dete and Regina picked on her but Virginia acted as her protector because she was "the baby." Helen was proud to have been the Company B Lieutenant in the Black Battalion at Sam Houston High School, graduating in 1945. She met her first husband, Neel Howell when they were just teenagers at Sam Houston. They married in 1947. From that marriage came her greatest joy in life, her only child, her son, Harold Neel, Jr. She held a variety of jobs over the years beginning as Walter Pye's "right hand woman" at the Hollywood Shop right out of high school. She proved to be a loyal and conscientious employee to Mr. Pye. She quit once or twice but he followed her home and brought her back to work for him. She later worked in Southern California at Sunshine Biscuits, and for 14 years until her retirement, the Teamsters Local 572. In each job, she developed deep and life-long friendships, staying in touch with many of her former coworkers until their passing. After almost 28 years of marriage and the death of her first husband, Helen met Don Porterfield, a retired sailor from Oklahoma. They married in August of 1975. She and Don enjoyed going to the dune buggy races in the desert and on road trips in their Winnebago over their 33 years together until his death in 2008. Helen met and became fast and dear friends with Don's niece, Wanda and her husband, Vernon. She also came to love and trust her California caregiver, Eve (Eva) Livengood, with whom she stayed in close touch. Helen spent the greater part of her life residing in Long Beach and Lake Elsinore, CA only returning to Houston in 2009 to live her final years with her family. Helen joined Northwest Baptist Church, Houston, several years ago while still residing in Lake Elsinore, being introduced to the congregants by her sisters. Though her disability kept her from ever personally visiting the church, she became a much-loved member through cards and phone calls. Helen loved life. Due to her inability to travel in her later years, Helen relied on phone calls and visits from her many friends and family. Her pastor has expressed more than once that though they came to bring her cheer, those who visited Helen always left feeling emotionally lifted my Helen's cheery disposition. Helen loved her Lord. She shared the Good News of Jesus Christ whenever she had the chance and had a special way of getting affirmation of answered prayer or simply words of comfort through titles or lyrics of hymns that would come to her mind after praying about one thing or another. And Helen loved gospel music. If you'd never heard of The Gaithers, Guy Penrod, or Ernie Haase, had you spent 10 minutes with Helen, she would have pulled out her tapes of their record shows and introduced you. And had you visited Helen, you would have met two dear ladies who she counted on to keep her fed, organized, clean and coifed - Pam Richbourg and Debbie Fieth. Helen taught them how to care for her special needs and they each developed a close bond with her. Helen loved her family. She was so proud of her 2 grandchildren and of being "GG" to her 3 great-grandchildren. Besides her parents and husbands, Helen is preceded in death by her sister, Dete Howell; nephew, Jerry Little, and numerous sisters- and brothers-in-law. To cherish many loving and fond memories, she leaves her son, Harold and wife, Eileen; her grandson, Steven, his wife, Sandy and their daughter, Sophia of Katy; her granddaughter, Lynda, her husband, Rob and their children, Levi and Wren of Estes Park, CO., her sisters, Virginia Dardar and Regina Brinegar of Houston and many nieces and nephews. Helen will be truly missed by all who loved her but we're so grateful to God for bringing her home. She is finally free of the limitations of her earthly body and is no doubt giving her new legs a real workout.
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.