HELEN SELLS POOLE
February 13, 1901-May 11, 1965
Mrs. Helen Sells Poole has slipped away from us here on earth to go to the Father’s house, not made with hands, eternal to the heavens, and we, her friends and loved ones, have gathered in this sacred service to remember with love and appreciation her gracious life among us and, as Christian people, to seek that comfort and consolation which God alone can give.
For indeed we need the tender and loving ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the One called alongside to help. Our hearts are deeply saddened by the going of this one who was so dear and precious to so many. To know Helen Poole was to respect her, to appreciate her, and to love her—and she was known and loved by many.
Helen Sells, the daughter of the Reverend and Mrs. James L. Sells, was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Her father, a prominent and dedicated Methodist minister, transferred to the Mississippi Annual Conference when Helen was a small child. She grew up in the Methodist parsonage, graduated from Whitworth College, a Methodist institution in Brookhaven, Mississippi, and received her Master of Arts degree from Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee. On August 28, 1928, she was married to Daniel William Poole, a young minister of the Louisiana Annual Conference who had recently graduated from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and who was serving in his first appointment in the Conference at Choudrant. Helen came as a bride to Louisiana, where for almost thirty-seven years she has walked beside her preacher-husband, ministering in her beautiful manner to the people whom they have served and blessing her husband, her sons, and all her other loved ones in a real and wonderful way.
To know Helen Poole was to respect her intellectually. She had a brilliant mind. She was a good student and a clear thinker. She was well informed in many fields, and she possessed the ability to share the knowledge which was hers with those with whom she came in contact. She expressed her ideas well and was in demand as a teacher in training schools, conferences, and other meetings. She was called upon often to lead groups in worship. Yet with all this recognition, she was modest and unassuming—and people loved her because she was so genuine and understanding.
She was a devoted sister, wife, mother, and grandmother. With Willie she built a beautiful Christian home and sent out into the world three sons dedicated to the service of others. Two are ministers, James and Frank, and the third, Dan, a coach and teacher of young people. Her daughters-in-law were as precious to her as her own daughters could have been, and they all loved her as if she had been their own mother. It was always an inspiration to be in this home and to observe the love and devotion revealed there in every aspect of family life.
Helen Poole was an ideal companion for a minister. Her daily life was an inspiration to those around her. Her Christian experience was real and vital, and she translated into action the rich fellowship which she had with her Lord. She did not speak unkindly or in criticism of others. She had the ability to see the good in people and she was helpful in bringing forth the best in those with whom she served. She was also a source of comfort and strength to many. Just one picture from her last days in the hospital in New Orleans: there was a young man, a patient there from another state, who had the same trouble that she did, and who was most discouraged and despondent. Someone told him about Helen and he came up to see her. He came back several times and she talked with him. Just a few days ago this young man’s doctor came in the room and thanked Helen for what she had done for his patient. “He is a new man,” the doctor said. “I knew something had happened to him. I asked him what it was, and he said, ‘I have been visiting with Mrs. Poole’.” I know of no illustration more revealing of this noble life than this one. During these long years of illness Helen has demonstrated as few people whom I have known the virtues of Christian faith, patience, and courage. Never complaining, never feeling sorry for herself, always cheerful, always interested in others, but always in the spirit hopeful, expectant, and confident. She walked with Christ in health and in sickness, in life and in death, and she is sheltered now in the Father’s presence where she has gone to be with Him eternally.
We thank our heavenly Father for Helen Poole. She has blessed us in so many ways. It breaks our hearts to be separated from her here, but we have the assurance that we may meet her once again in that holy place where she has gone.
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1965; p. 222
By Bishop Aubrey G. Walton