Helen Mary (Murphy) Achenbach - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

Helen Mary (Murphy) Achenbach

June 10, 1931 - August 31, 2023

Helen Mary (Murphy) Achenbach, the founder of Delaware’s iconic Helen’s Sausage House, age 92, of Wilmington, DE, passed away peacefully with her favorite Elvis music playing softly, and family surrounding her on Thursday, August 31, 2023.

Born and raised in Wilmington, DE on June 10, 1931, she was a daughter of the late Layton T. Arterbridge, Sr. and Mary M. (Keller) Knox. Helen lived her whole life in Delaware, attending Bancroft School and eventually owning homes in both Smyrna and Pot-Nets Bayside. She also spent the majority of her life working in restaurants, both as a waitress and in sandwich shops from her teenage years up until she had the chance to buy the restaurant where she’d open Helen’s Sausage House in 1983. “The store” was her pride and joy, where she loved her customers and her customers loved her.

Her family — and maybe Elvis — were the only things she loved more than the restaurant. She married twice…once in 1950 to Clifford J. Murphy Sr., and later in 1967 to Melvin “Mudge” Achenbach. She raised two loving children and adored her grandchildren, who remember sleepovers, practical jokes, and dancing. MomMom was always dancing. Other things she loved, in no particular order: her pony, Brandy; her many dogs; and the pigs and chickens she raised; being a part of the Holloway Terrace Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary for several years; hosting family holiday dinners; and eating crabs down at the beach.

In addition to her parents, Helen was preceded in death by her stepfather, Raymond C. Knox; brother, Layton T. Arterbridge, Jr.; sister-in-law, Stella Arterbridge; sister, Joan Thomas; and husbands, Clifford J. Murphy Sr. and Melvin “Mudge” Achenbach. She is survived by her children, Diane Murphy Phillips (Wayne) and Clifford “Butch” Murphy, Jr. (JoAnne); grandchildren, Clifford J. Murphy III, Michael W. Phillips (Jessica), Amy Phillips Harty, Wayne Lockwood, and Kerri Hunter (Bruce); great-grandchildren, Jillian and Delaney Murphy, Richard Binkley III, Matthew Phillips, Anthony and Joseph Harty, and Zack and Nik Hunter; brother-in-law, Haven Thomas; niece, Kimberly Newsom (William); nephew, Richard Thomas; and longtime employees and family friends, Tina Jamison, Pat Taylor, and Pam Ford.

The family would like to thank the staff, nurses and aides at The Residence of Chadds Ford memory care floor for the wonderful care of their mom over the last two years. They all loved “MomMom.” The family would also like to extend their thanks and appreciation to the doctors and nurses at Riddle Hospital for the outstanding care during her short time there.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 12 pm on Monday, September 11, 2023, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 1000 North DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE, where a celebration of Helen’s life will begin at 12 pm. Interment will follow in Gracelawn Memorial Park, 2220 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, DE.


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15 Condolences for Helen Mary (Murphy) Achenbach

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family at this time of loss. May each of you feel the comfort of knowing Helen is home with her Heavenly Father and will be enjoying life eternal.
    Our love and prayers
    Sandy and Buddy

  • Rip Helen
    Your with mudge now
    Tell him I said hi and you’re mom , an mother in law
    What a wonderful woman she will be missed

  • Dear Joanne & family,
    Thinking of you during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
    With Deepest
    Sharon Nardo
    Psalm 34:18

  • She was a dear friend sending prayers to her family she will be dearly missed

  • Diane burch I am so sorry for your loss. It was a pleasure and a joy to be with your mother and sat with her in the evenings. I am so sorry again for your loss. May she be a piece and may god be with your family and friends miss Helen continue watching over us and guiding us your peace now🙏❤️

  • Condolences to you and your family Butch,, my mom is 93 and still lives in the same house in Holloway terrace,, God bless you

  • What a wonderful and sweet lady. I am sorry to hear of her passing.

    Councilwoman Tabi Gott (Smyrna)

  • With the deepest respect and sympathy I would like to thank all the people connected to this wonderful woman who has given so much to the community of Townsend and Smyrna and the entire area for miles around, and as the King himself would have said “THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!❤️

  • Condolences 🙏 going out to the family .

  • I didn’t know Helen but my family and I love Helen’s Sausage House and wanted to say to the family we are sorry for your loss.

  • Wayne and family:
    Sending you and yours my thoughts and prayers as you remember Helen and a life well lived. Like many, we enjoyed stopping at the store for those delicious sausage and pork chop sandwiches and for the welcoming atmosphere.
    May Helen find peace and rest in Our Lord’s house; know that she will always be watching over you and the family.

  • Helen’s Sausage House is a true DE landmark, thanks to Helen. Her involvement with the community & the HTFC Sta 20 Ladies Aux will always be remembered. Sincere condolences,
    W. Mike McMichael

  • May she walk forever in the Presence of God.

  • Butch, So sorry to hear of the passing of your wonderful mother. God Bless …..Carlene and Eric

  • Butch, so sorry for the loss of your Mother. May you and JoAnne find comfort in Our Father and Jesus Christ. My thoughts and Prayers 🙏 are with you both. God Bless! Colleen