Johannah Elizabeth King Bell (1925 - 2014)

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Johannah Elizabeth King Bell


Johannah Elizabeth King Bell passed away on Thursday, April 3, 2014. She was born in Greenville, SC, on Oct. 2, 1925, the first of two children. Her younger sister is Anne Ballenger King McCuen (William G. McCuen). Her parents, Elizabeth "Bessie" Anne Ballenger, James Henry King, and her son, Stephen Marion Bell, predecease her.

Jo and Charles S. Bell met while they both worked at S. D. Leidesdorf (now Ernst and Young) in Greenville, SC, and married in 1951. Charles and Jo were married for 62 years, and have five children: Michael King (Debbie Halter) of Greenville, Robert Charles of Greenville, David Whitney (Jeanne Sterling) of Atlanta, and Elizabeth Anne (Chris White) of San Francisco. They are graced with five grandchildren and two great grandchildren: James David Sigmon (Lauren Strittmatter) of Greenville, Lauren Bradbury Smythe (Will Smythe) of Greenville, James David Bell and Lindsey Elizabeth Bell of Denver, and Johannah Catherine Bell of Atlanta; Foster Caine Smythe, Elizabeth James Sigmon.

Jo and all of her children attended Greenville High School, where she graduated in 1942. She was devoted to her college alma mater, Furman University, where she graduated with a degree in French, Spanish and Latin. She worked on the student paper while in school and frequently credited her Furman education as giving her the tools needed for success. Jo was grateful to her father, a private investigator, and her mother, a U.S. Chief Deputy Marshal, who instilled in her the importance of a good education and serving her community.

A member and deacon of the First Baptist Church in Greenville, Jo's faith played an important role in her life, and she knew that giving back to others, especially children, was a vital part of her life's work. She served in leadership positions and boards for numerous Greenville charities, including the YWCA, Child Abuse and Neglect Committee, Pendleton Place, Alston Wilkes Society, and Rosewood House of Recovery, to name a few. She was a chairman and founding board member of Greenville's Child.

Jo was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in 1998, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Palmetto State, for contributions to local and state communities. She had an eight-year appointment to the South Carolina Juvenile Parole Board, by then Governor Dick Riley. She was named one of the most influential people in Greenville by The Greenville News, and received the AAUW Leader of the 21st Century Award.

Jo loved music and was an avid pianist, playing for her grandchildren whenever possible.

Services will be at 3:00 PM on Sunday, April 6 at First Baptist Greenville Carpenter Chapel with visitation one hour prior. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Park.

The family wished to express their thanks to the caring staff at Saint Francis Hospital and The Woodlands at Furman. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Alston Wilkes Society, 3519 Medical Dr, Columbia, SC 29203-6504 .

Condolences may be expressed at

Funeral Home
Mackey Mortuary
311 Century Drive
Greenville, SC 29607
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Published in The Greenville News on Apr. 5, 2014
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