Ella Rita Helfrich
Ella Rita Helfrich, 98, left us for Heaven on July 21, 2015. Born in Michigan and raised in Louisiana, she was a long time resident of the Houston Heights. Ella Rita won second place in the 1966 Pillsbury Bakeoff for her Tunnel of Fudge Cake, which is Pillsbury's most requested recipe ever and introduced America to the Bundt pan. She showered her husband of 56 years, Carl Helfrich, and their children—Carol Ann Pontello, Patricia Evans (John), Raymond Helfrich (Ann), Mary Beth Moxley (Tom) & Rosemary McKay (George)—with love and dessert. She volunteered tirelessly at her childrens' schools (All Saints & St. Pius X). Affection and chocolate were lavished on her grandchildren: Jacqueline Pontello, Kenneth Suter, Rosanne Nikolaidis, Renee Young, Karen Friedman, Eric Helfrich, Joey Grochett, Kristie Shields, Shannon Humphrey, Christopher and Dustin Rizzo. Her passions were recipe contests and volunteering with the Diocesan Senior Senate and as Co-Founder of the Third Age Learning Center at All Saints. While Alzheimer's stole her memory, no disease could take away Ella Rita's sweet disposition and innate grace. She was preceded in death by husband Carl; adopted daughter Mary Christianson and sons-in-law Fred Pontello, Harold Grochett and Sam Gullo. Left to mourn are her children, grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, sisters, Virginia Hall and Betty Swearingen, and many treasured nieces, nephews and friends. Visitation will be held 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday, July 27, 2015, at Earthman Resthaven Funeral Home, with a Rosary to be recited at 7:00 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at All Saints Catholic Church, 215 E. 10th St., Houston, Texas 77008. Rite of Committal will follow at Earthman Resthaven Cemetery.
Published by Houston Chronicle on Jul. 26, 2015.