Helen Catherine (Barcus) Schindler

August 11, 1944 ~ October 7, 2021 (age 77)


Helen Catherine (Barcus) Schindler, often referred to as The Helcat, with her children by her side, peacefully gained her angel wings on October 7, 2021, after a swift tussle with pancreatic cancer. Born 77 years prior to Samuel and Mary (Clapp) Barcus of Hammond, IL, she will always be #4. Helen wore many hats, including daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, wife, neighbor, friend, coworker, mother, and Granny. Of that list, the latter was her pride and joy. Grandsons Cole and Grant Brightwell dominated her heart and step grandchildren Taylor, Meg and Christian were an added bonus. After living within the same 100 mile radius for over 70 years, she moved to Arizona to be close to her grandsons. It was in the early 70s with plaid polyester and a shiny bowling ball when she met her future husband and father of her children, the late Richard Schindler. Together they raised two kind, spirited, loving and successful children: Dr. Sandra Brightwell (Krys) and Samuel Schindler (Isobel). Although they parted ways, Helen and Dick each gifted an unconditional bond to their children. Helen had an interest in law and politics and enjoyed a long career working for county government. She eventually picked up a second job so that she had "mad money" to enjoy; you can still see her picture on the wall in Urbana's Farm and Fleet, now a local treasure. Helen loved the Fighting Illini and was a faithful fan. She enjoyed watching the Illini both on TV and in person. She shared this love with her three sisters, the late Nell Eyestone (Hollis), the late Marjorie Jones (Arnold) and Barbara Asghar (Syed). Three brothers rounded out the sibling crew, Robert (Sandra), Samuel (Rita) and the late James Barcus (Gaila). Her brothers and sisters and in laws all played a special role in Helen's life, including the gift of nieces and nephews: Arianna Barcus (Michael), Andrea Pavelski (Matt), Nisa Asghar, Tony Jones (Joan), Terry Jones (Sharon) Trevor Barcus, Reece Barcus and Ryan Barcus. Great nephews Cameron, Aaron, Bradley, and Eric and great nieces Lindsay and Isabelle. Additionally, she was blessed with an extensive Schindler’s list of loved ones. Helen was extremely patriotic and would often be seen in red, white, and blue. Her favorite color was purple, and her preferred food was ice cream. Country music was her beat and watching sports, her hobby. She was an expert TV watcher rocking in her recliner often accompanied by popcorn and a Midnight Milky Way. She enjoyed endless snuggles from her grandsons and collected kisses. She was the official homemade noodle taste tester on Thanksgiving, the lottery-ticket secret Santa and she truly adored a special squirrel. Helen cherished her son Sam's sense of humor and his wink and loved their visits to the horse track. His Galva posse provided years of headaches, laughs and warm hugs. She enjoyed doing all the girly things with her daughter Sandy, including going to the theater, getting pampered and of course, shoe shopping. She always thought it was funny referring to Krys as her favorite son in law and could listen to Bell's infectious laugh for days. She was simple in her ways, generally quiet and reserved, yet stubborn and sarcastic; she was cellphone challenged, definitely had selective hearing and a mean sweet tooth. Helen will be dearly missed by those who knew and loved her. She is now reunited with her heavenly loved ones, including AnnieFannieRoonieSchindler.

Can you hear Conway welcoming her into heaven?

Hello Darlin'
Nice to see you
It's been a long time
You're just as lovely
As you used to be.

A sincere thank you for the compassionate care provided by Audrey's Adult Care Home, Hospice of the Valley and Ironwood Cancer and Research Center. And to the family and friends who supported Helen and her children during the duel with cancer, a heartfelt thank you; your demonstrated love was essential. A celebration of life is being planned for later in 2021 by her daughter and son as cremation rights have been accorded. Please check back for details.

Fly high Ole Crow, Fly high,
Make it like you mean it.

Richardson Funeral Home is compassionately serving the Schindler Family.

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Celebration of Life


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