NEW BERN - Ella Jones Bengel, 86, a dedicated woman of God, went peacefully to be with her Lord and Savior on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2012. Born September 21, 1926, in Trenton, North Carolina, Ella was the daughter of the late Durham Elmo Jones and Winnie Hinson Jones. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband R.E. "Buddy" Bengel Jr., son Richard E. Bengel III, five sisters and two brothers.
Surviving are her four children: Steve Bengel and wife Sabrina, Linda B. White and husband Ray, Patricia B. Boyd, Sandra B. Sibley and husband Kenny; eleven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Ella Bengel's life was a life dedicated to serving her Lord and Savior and to others in her community. She never missed an opportunity to share the gospel of our Lord with those she would meet, and was described by others as an "unashamed witness." She dedicated her life to Christ at an early age and faithfully attended church all her life. She did God's work as a Sunday School teacher for 40 years and, after a trip to the Holy Land, started doing a slide show for many of the churches in the New Bern area, again spreading the good news of her Lord.
Her love of this community and its youth led her to run for Alderman of the 5th Ward in 1973 where she served four terms marked by exemplary and energetic leadership in the vital accomplishments of the Board. In 1985 she was elected as New Bern's first Woman Mayor, serving two terms and was a powerful influence for good in the growth and progress of this community and was one of New Bern's prominent and influential residents. She earned the respect of all whom she came into contact, and the love and affection of a host of friends.
Ella received many awards during her life. She was most proud of receiving the Woman of the Year Award in 1976, The All American City Award while she served as Mayor, and finally the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award presented to her in 2010 by Governor Beverly Perdue during New Bern's 300th Celebration.
Ella has finally received the ultimate gift of seeing God and being reunited with her loved ones. She lived a life full of grace.
Funeral services will be held Friday, December 28, 2012 at 11 a.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church. Interment will be at New Bern Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Thursday, December 27, 2012, at Cotten Funeral Home from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the New Bern Firemen's Museum, 408 Hancock Street, New Bern, NC 28560.
Online condolences may be made to the Bengel family at www.cottenfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by Cotten Funeral Home & Crematory.