Katherine Bell, 1920-2014

Katherine Murray Monroe Bell, 94, passed away May 27, 2014, in Fort Smith.

She was born and raised in Nashville, Tenn., and attended Peabody Business School. She was a lifelong member of United Methodist Church, where she shared her love of music and playing the piano for worship. This led to her meeting the pastor of Matthews Memorial Methodist Church, Virgil Chipman Bell, the love of her life. On the day of their wedding, Virgil preached, and after the benediction, invited all those present who would like to share in their wedding to please be seated. This was a surprise to all, including Katherine’s 7-year-old daughter, Sharon. 

Following Virgil’s graduation from Vanderbilt Divinity School, they moved to Arkansas, where she and Virgil shared in ministry for 60-plus years throughout the state. She not only supported Virgil in his ministry, but also ministered to a multitude of others in many ways, especially women. God’s Daughters was a prayer ministry for women that she led in her home wherever they lived. 

Her day started by her praying for her husband, children, grandchildren and other family members. She was a prayer warrior for all, including her pastor at St. Paul UMC Fort Smith, Steve Poarch. After Virgil’s death, Katherine moved in with Bobby and Londie Bell as well as Jo Anna Harrison, caregiver and now family member. Even when Katherine’s days were spent at home, her day began with her hair styled, makeup on, including her ruby red lipstick and her “Babel style” bling. Her morning routine was complete with her daily devotions. Katherine met each day with a love for God, her family and others, ready for whatever God had in store for her that day. She will be loved and missed and her memory will always be celebrated.

Katherine Murray Monroe Bell is survived by three children, Sharon Smith of Florida; Bobby Bell and his wife, Londie, of Arkansas; and Susan Hampton and her husband, Steve, of Texas; nine grandchildren, Pat, Scott and Brian Smith; Maiga Bishop and her husband, Jason; Jonathan Bell and his wife, Shelly; Alec Bell; and Ryan, Chad and Trey Hampton; and four great-grandchildren, Michael Smith, Addy Bishop and Conner and Noah Bell.

A funeral service was held Saturday, May 31 at St. Paul United Methodist Church with burial to following at Witherspoon Cemetery in Vandervoort.

Memorials may be made to St. Paul UMC Building Fund, 4100 Grand Ave., Fort Smith, AR 72904.