Generous. Kind. Gentle. Those are the words that best describe Helen Frances Black Rudesill, a Propylaeum member who died Dec. 13 at age 93.
Active until the end, Helen had delivered holiday cookies to Executive Director Liz Ellis the day before her passing.
Liz and numerous others noted that Helen never failed to offer a heartfelt compliment each time she encountered a friend or acquaintance.
Her sweet smile brightened many Prop events. She believed firmly that if she made a commitment to an organization, she should give it her all. The list of those commitments is long: She served as president of Stansfield Circle and the parent-teacher organizations at Schools 84 and 86. She led Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution; chaired the Indianapolis Symphony Association and served on the ISO board; chaired the Indiana Aspen Music School Scholarship Committee; and served on the Ensemble Music Society board. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, she taught Sunday School for 48 years, as well as serving on its Vestry.
While she wielded a gavel with the best of them, she was renowned for her pound cake. Using a recipe handed down from her mother, Helen contributed her confections to numerous fundraisers, bringing in hundreds – even thousands – of dollars for ISO, Prop and DAR events. The bidding was fierce.
At Prop auctions, she was an active bidder and always carried away several items, as did the friends and family members who attended as her guests.
A graduate of Butler University, Helen taught at Park School until “retiring” to become a stay-at-home mother. She and her husband, Dr. Robert Rudesill, were the parents of three children (Charles Rudesill, Geoffrey Rudesill and Barbara Kleinschmidt). The couple met on a blind date arranged by his sister and were married in 1947. He died in 2016.
For years, the Rudesills vacationed in Wisconsin, where they hiked, fished and harvested berries. “It is truly God’s country,” Helen told an interviewer in 2014.
Helen’s many friends would beg to differ. Wherever Helen happened to be, that was truly “God’s country.”