Helen Sousley

Monday, November 23, 2009
Helen Sousley
Helen Sousley

Helen R. Sousley, 86, died suddenly at her home at the Villas at Riverplace senior retirement community, in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009, of natural causes.

Helen was born in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 17, 1923, the fourth of eight children of Presbyterian minister Charles Payton Rigler and Ava Aileen Mayo Rigler. As children, she and her brothers and sisters survived many hardships, often taunted as "PK'S" (preacher's kids) during the Great Depression. They learned from their parents' guidance and through necessity to be resourceful and very thrifty in order to make their own ways through life. Nothing was handed to them on a silver platter!

Helen was proud to have put herself through college at the University of Tennessee, Memphis campus, earning her degree in nursing, and as a member of the first U.S. Army Nurse Cadet Training Program. She served in the European Theater during World War II and subsequently at Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, where she met and fell in love with the dashing U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot Roy J. Sousley, Jr. They were married on Jan. 12, 1947, at Ft. Sam Houston and shared almost 63 years of marital happiness, traveling and enjoying many of the worldıs amazing landmarks through their 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and then 33 "snow birds" years towing and living in their Airstream trailers in all parts of the U.S. and Mexico, landing during the winters of the past 20 years in Los Barilles, Baja, Mexico.

Helen and Roy were blessed with three daughters, Suzanne, Cynthia and Melissa. They shared a unified bond of faith in God throughout their marriage, which served them and their daughters well all through their lives. While Roy was away on many isolated tours of duty, Helen kept the home fires burning and maintained a loving and secure home for their daughters, never failing to sew up costumes or uniforms and attending all their performances and events. She was a particularly creative and gifted seamstress for herself, the girls and Roy.

In 1974, Helen and Roy built their dream log cabin home near Donnelly, Idaho, on the shores of Lake Cascade, an idyllic haven loved by them, their children, grandchildren and great-grandsons. Although they were forced by age to stay in Boise last winter and discontinue their travels to warmer climates, Helen always said their real home was their beautiful cabin on Lake Cascade.

Helen was actively supportive of her husbandıs love for fishing and hunting, as a Red Cross volunteer nurse, in the Order of Eastern Star and in airbase Officers' Wives' Clubs.

One her lifeıs greatest pleasures was golf. Helen played in and often won her flight in countless golf tournaments throughout Idaho while she and Roy were stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base and later in McCall, Idaho, during their summers in Donnelly.

She possessed a beautiful soprano voice and loved singing in the choirs at all the base chapels and churches where she lived.

During summer vacations from traveling to Mexico, she was active in Roy's Shrine events, her Eastern Star events and loved entertaining family and extended family at the cabin. She particularly enjoyed regularly attending the McCall, Community Congregational Church, United Church of Christ.

Helen was the consummate hostess, cook and southern belle. She and Roy knew no strangers and never hesitated to make new acquaintances or visitors feel at home.

Her beauty, generosity and fun-loving spirit will be cherished by those she loved and who loved her.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Ava Rigler, and her sister, Doris Rigler Gibson.

She is survived by her husband, USAF Col. (retired) Roy J. Sousley, Jr., of Donnelly and Boise, Idaho; her sisters, Adelaide Powell, Springfield, Ala., Frances Stewart, Melrose, Fla., and Rebecca Holshouser, Blowing Rock, N.C.; her brothers, Charles Rigler, Jr., Taylors, S.C., Donald Rigler, Natchitoches, La., and Paul Rigler, Oyster Creek, Texas; three daughters, Suzanne (David) Evans, Donnelly, and Kaneohe, Hawaii; Cynthia (Charles) King, Boise; Melissa (Steve) Flaherty, Spokane, Wash.; grandchildren, Cristin King, Seattle, Wash.; Cory (Alexa) King, Littleton, Colo.; Carolyn (Robert) Park, Boise; Brooke Evans, Kaneohe, Hawaii; Brett (Lisa) Evans, Ft. Eustis, Va.; Patrick (Janelle) Flaherty, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Shannon Flaherty, Boston, Mass.; and Erin Flaherty, Moscow, Idaho; great-grandsons, Aaron King, Chase King, Andrew King, Geoffrey Park, Cole King and Charles Park; and many nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held at Summers Funeral Home, Boise Chapel, 1205 W. Bannock St., Boise, Idaho, from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, with funeral services at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, also at Summers Funeral Home, Boise

Chapel. Burial with military honors will take place at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, in the afternoon.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Helen's name may be sent to Shriners Children's Hospitals, c/o El Korah Temple, Boise, Idaho; the U.S. Military Women's Memorial, Washington, D.C., or a charity of your choice. Condolences to the family may be sent via boise@summersfuneral.com.