Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew 5:3 KJV
Martha Frances Bell was born June 30, 1936 in Glendale, Florida, the daughter of Thaddeus Bell and Katherine Gallagher Bell. Like most children, born and raised in the Deep South, she was known by two names, however, rather than those two names being her first two names, she was known simply by her first and last name, Martha Bell. Martha Bell faced many physical and mental challenges from an early age. This writer can not speak for her early years but can from 1985 onward, as a fellow member of the local Methodist Church, and occupying the seat directly behind the Hussey Family pew, which would be three from the front, preacher’s left, center aisle, there where Marianne Hussey has sat, faithfully, Sunday after Sunday as Ms. Carolee and Bettie sang in the choir until Ms. Carolee wasn’t able to anymore. Various parishioners found their way to the front to sit on the Hussey Family pew over the years, especially after Ms. Carolee and Bettie died and Martha Bell, who sort of “hung out” with her cousin Janet Wesley were two who sat with Marianne directly in front of this writer with Martha Bell hardly, if ever, missing a Sunday. This writer, every Sunday had the opportunity to “study” Martha Bell, especially when the sermon began to drift. Preachers come and preachers go, especially in Methodism and Martha Bell endured them all. Facing extreme physical limitations, hearing and speech, had no effect on the social and personal interaction Martha Bell had with the membership, for instance, if you didn’t have a program, and Martha Bell noticed, up she would jump and give hers to you, whether the preacher was in full discourse or the choir was mastering the high notes during the anthem. There was a pure, childlike innocence about Martha Bell, and Marianne granted her ample leeway, only reining her in if absolutely necessary like when the pastoral prayer would stretch too long and Martha Bell would become restless. Over the last few years, the Hussey Family pew has grown with attendees, Joseph Wheeler, a bright young man who has grown up in the Methodist Church and who is studying to become a physician and Pam and Stevie Jones who have, since Janet Wesley died, looked after Martha Bell. There was no pretense about Martha Bell, she was content, happy, always upbeat and absolutely delighted in worshiping her Lord and Savior and the Glory of God shown in her face for those who took time to look. On Friday, January 22, 2021 at 11:00 A.M. it will become the duty of Reverend Francis Turner to transfer the membership of Martha Bell from the rolls of First United Methodist Church of DeFuniak Springs to the rolls of the Church Eternal. The Hussey Family pew will still be there and over the years new parishioners will find a place there, but the memory of Martha Bell shall endure in the hearts and minds of her church family who loved her.
There aren’t many “survivors”; her brother James Murdock Bell and wife Merle and cousins and about 2.4 billion fellow Christians worldwide.
Those asked to serve as pallbearers are Wayne Bodie, Craig Reynolds, Phillip Martin, Kelvin Wells, Joe Baker, Howard Rinker, Odon Russell, David Jones, Jimmy Bell and Stevie Jones.
A time of visitation will be Friday, January 22, 2021 from 10 until 11 A.M. in First United Methodist Church, 88 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32435 with the funeral beginning at 11 A.M. with Reverend Francis Turner officiating. Burial will follow in the Bell Family plot in Magnolia Cemetery.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of MARTHA FRANCES BELL, please visit our floral store.