Helen Godley Richardson Harrell

Published 7:10 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Helen Godley Richardson Harrell, 92, passed away on Sept. 16, 2018. She was born on Sept. 23, 1925, in Aurora. She was the daughter of the late John Lee Godley and Nina Ferrell Godley, and she was predeceased by her siblings, Bob Godley, Mary Godley Tunstall, Lee Ferrell Godley and Joseph Godley. She was a member of Friendship Pentecostal Holiness Church in Edward.

Helen was valedictorian of her high school class and awarded a scholarship to the Norfolk Division of William & Mary. She earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University and was a teacher and Assistant Principal at Deep Creek Elementary School in Chesapeake, Virginia, for over 25 years, teacher of the year twice, and served as president of the Virginia Education Association. As a pioneer in mainstreaming special needs children into traditional classrooms, she facilitated programs in both Germany and Russia. In her later years, she devoted her time and resources managing her family vineyard.

Helen is survived by her husband, James Alton Harrell, Sr., and is the widow of the late Jack Mitchell of Suffolk, Virginia, and the widow of the late William Shelby Richardson, Jr. of Portsmouth, Virginia. Helen was predeceased by three of her children, Barbara Ann Brittingham, of Portsmouth, Virginia, Patricia Ann Hundley, of Suffolk, Virginia, and Robert Fairfield Richardson, Sr., of Portsmouth, Virginia. She is survived by a son, William Shelby Richardson, III, of Woodbine, Maryland; two sons-in-law, Robert Brittingham, of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Donald Hundley, of Portsmouth, Virginia; and a daughter-in-law, Margaret Richardson Cullifer, of Frisco, NC; five grandchildren, the late Timothy Willard Dodge, Pauline Helen Richardson Howerton, Danny Richardson, Robert Fairfield Richardson, Jr. and John Shelby Richardson; 11 great-grandchildren, Margaret McCullough Howerton, Caroline Fairfield Howerton, Kevin Bennett Howerton Jr., William Roper Howerton, Anne Marie Mehegan Howerton, Gabriel William Richardson, Tyler Willard Dodge, Robert Fairfield Richardson, III, Madeline McCullough Richardson, Cole Shelby Richardson and Claire Rose Richardson.

A funeral service was held at Friendship Pentecostal Holiness Church in Edward on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.