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1923 Helen J. Knight 2024

Helen J. Knight

November 6, 1923 — January 29, 2024


Helen J. (Ladyman) Knight, 100 years old, passed peacefully from this life on Monday, January 29, 2024. She was born into the Greatest Generation on November 6, 1923, in Senath, Missouri to the late Thomas Marshall, Sr. and Hattie (Kerr) Ladyman.


The oldest child of 3, and beginning her life just before the Great Depression, Helen and her family faced unthinkable hardships and were confronted with incredible poverty. Never owning a house, her father found a way to pack the family up and made the move to Bloomington, IN, where his brother lived, and informed him of employment possibilities. Attending Bloomington schools and being highly intelligent, Helen was allowed to skip a grade in elementary school.


Learning the value of hard work and the worth of a dollar at an early age, Helen rose to every challenge life threw at her and was able to overcome all obstacles, finding success in life by working her way through trials and tribulations. She was employed as a talented administrative assistant with several companies throughout her life including Mayflower, the Van Orman Graham Hotel, BB&1 Trucking, Link Belt, Indiana University Speech and Audiology Department Selective Services, she aided her husband in his auction business, later retiring from the Mooresville Town Court at the young age of 85. She was a member of Eternal Life Baptist Church, as well as the Eastern Star #260, serving as a past Worthy Matron.


During WWll, she met her first husband and the future father of her twins Jim and Janet, Louis F. Thompson, a handsome young Marine who stole her heart. He was stationed in Burns City, now known as Crane Naval Depot, where he was learning advanced Marine Corps training. He would come to Bloomington on weekend passes for R&R. When he was sent overseas to battle, Helen and her sister traveled to Washington D.C. to do their part in fighting the war from home, securing jobs with the Pentagon as secretaries. After the war finally ended, Helen and Louis were united in marriage and started their family, settling in North Tonawanda, New York.  Unhappy in life outside of the military, Louis enlisted in the Army. Not wanting to live the life of an Army wife, the pair went their separate ways and Helen was placed in the role of a single mother, which was looked down upon in those days. Making the most of a tough situation and being an attentive, loving mother, she managed to provide the best life she could for her children despite the stigma.


Later in life, Helen was blessed to find love again with the matchmaking skills of her daughter, Janet, and his daughter, Donna, and in August 1970 she married Frank E. Knight, who became the driving force she needed. The two loved traveling to Hawaii, and especially to gambling destinations with Tom, Barb, Kim, and Vi, to places such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Tunica, and Peoria, just to name a few. Strong-willed and an immaculate housekeeper, while Helen wasn't a fan of cooking, boy could she whip up some tasty fried chicken and potato soup! Straightforward and not one to put on airs, she remained punctual and disciplined during her life (even when her son Jim would take her to lunch). An avid reader, she kept abreast of world affairs, reading the paper daily and enjoyed a good Danielle Steele novel. Beautiful inside and out until the very end, Helen loved her family and especially doting on her grandsons. She had truly good friends in her time here on earth who were continuously there for her to cheer her on. To live to be 100 is a remarkable feat, and while Helen's life started extremely hard, she later found joy and an easier way of living. She will be deeply missed by all whose lives she touched.


Along with her parents, Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Frank E. Knight; daughter, Janet Thompson Bault; sister, Viola Damask; grandson, J.R. Bault; great-granddaughter, Nicole Watson; nephew, Jack Rupert; stepdaughter Donna Knight Weddle; sister-in-law, Barbara Ladyman; and brother-in-law, Kimon Damask.


She leaves behind her son, James F. Thompson of Mooresville; brother, Thomas Ladyman, Jr. of Bloomington; grandchildren, William Watson (wife, Lois) of Greenfield, Ty Thompson of Louisville, KY, and Nathan Watson of Greenfield; great-granddaughter, Kaitlyn Fathalla (Joe) of Indianapolis, along with her new great-great-granddaughter Paisley Jean Fathalla; nieces and nephews, Karen Trace (Bob) of Pennsville, NJ, Kim Rupert of Swedesboro, NJ, Cindy Ladyman of Bloomington, Mike Ladyman (Debbie) of Greenwood, and Ted Ladyman of Bloomington.


Final arrangements and cremation are entrusted to Carlisle Branson Funeral Service & Crematory, Mooresville. Per Helen's wishes, no services will be held as her last farewell party was on her 100th birthday at the Hilltop Family Restaurant in Spencer. Please visit to share a favorite memory or to sign the online guest registry.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Helen J. Knight, please visit our flower store.


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