Kenneth W. Bell was quick off his first step and first dribble when he played basketball at Newport High School. It threw his opponents off, helping him become a member of the 1,000 Point Club and voted first team all region player in 1982.
"Kenny was 5'7" at the most. He had a contagious smile, unlike any I had seen," said Coach Grady Brown about the athlete he helped coach, alongside his brother Coach Ray Brown, from middle school to high school.
"He was left handed and you know it's a right handed world. He made it difficult on people who played against him, especially in basketball. But, he was a good baseball player too,"
Bell played on Newport's baseball team that same year as the starting outfielder. Bell hit over 300. Newport's team won the Regional Tournament and then went on to place fourth in state.
The coaches watched Bell's progression and encouraged him when he pursued playing college basketball. He played at Cincinnati State and competed in the 1985 National Invitation Tournament.
Mr. Bell, formerly of Erlanger and Newport, died March 14 at IU Health Bloomington Hospital from cancer. He was 48.
He was the son of Gloria Bell Quisenberry of Newport.
His friend Russell Bradford said, "We were so much alike, we hung around together all the time; every summer, every day all the way up until he joined the Army. We played at the Sixth Street basketball court. Everyone played there. That's where he developed a left hand jump shot that set him apart from others."
In October 2011, Facebook seemed an unlikely place for Charmaine Matavuli of Bloomington, Ind. to meet a stranger. Bell's picture popped up listing him as someone she might know. When she saw his smile, she decided to "friend him."
"We knew we were in love before we met (a month later)," Matavuli said.
Last year, while the couple's relationship grew, Mr. Bell was diagnosed with cancer in his leg. He went through a series of treatments and his outlook was bright. Matavuli understood what Bell was dealing with because she is a nurse. Their relationship grew even stronger. The couple married in January of this year.
"The biggest love of his life was his family, especially his youngest daughter Kennedy, she was his pride and joy," Matavuli said. "He was a good father."
Mr. Bell was an order entry specialist for Mazak Corporation, a U.S. Army veteran, a Dallas Cowboys fan, and he enjoyed playing fantasy football.
With his wife, survivors include a son, Kevin Williams; daughters, Kennedy Bell and Emma Matavuli; sisters, Rhonda Quisenberry and Teresa Crawford; brother, Raymond Crawford; and one granddaughter.
Burial is in St. Mary's Cemetery in Fort Mitchell.
Memorials: IU Health Hospice House, 2810 Deborah Dr. Bloomington, IN 47403 or to the
Online condolences to www.pdcfuneralchapel.com.
Published in the Kentucky Enquirer from Mar. 21 to Mar. 22, 2013