On May 14, just two weeks short of her 99th birthday, Effie Leak Staton Bell was called home to be with her Lord and Savior.
Born May 29, 1909, in Ansonville, N.C., she was the middle of five children born to Marianna Waddell and Robert Lee Staton. She graduated from Quincy High School and moved to Jacksonville to study at Massey Business College. But when Augustus Daniel Bell, the love of her life, asked her to marry him, she quit school and that put an end to her business career. They had three daughters, Augusta Wright, Delores Hiers and Sarah Wood Hunt.
A Christian role model for her children and all who knew her, her testimony was her ever-present smile and loving concern for others. When she was widowed at age 52, with a 15-year-old to finish raising, she got a job in retail, selling women's fashions for the Vogue Shops. Every customer who came through the door was a visitor to socialize with and many became life-long friends. Her winning personality was the key to her success. She was often named top salesperson in the chain during her 30-plus-year career. Beginning at the then-new Gateway Mall, then at Phillips Highway Mall, she worked until retirement at age 80. She then had the opportunity to return to her first love -- caring for her family and gardening.
She was predeceased by her parents; brother Robert Nelm Staton; sisters Marie Staton, Virginia Bowen and Bess Akins; and never knew of the death of her precious daughter Delores, just weeks prior to her own. She is survived and terribly missed by her daughters, Augusta Wright, of Middleburg, and Sarah Wood Hunt (Jon), of St. Augustine and son-in-law H. Marcy Hiers, of Kannapolis, N.C. She was devoted to her grandchildren, Clabourne Wright III (Debbie), of Green Cove Springs, Augustus Daniel Wright (Cathy), of Middleburg, Ruth Ann Sumner (Rod), of Jacksonville, Robert Hiers (Cheryl), of Aynor, S,C., Marcie Lee Pack, of Kannapolis, Kathy Young of Savannah, Ga., Walter Wood (Carrie), of Satellite Beach, Cameron Ward-Hunt, of Denver, Colo., and Cassidy Hunt, of St. Augustine. Her great-grandchildren are Melissa, Austin, Clay and Conner Wright; McGee Faircloth; Jacob Hiers; Alec Pack; Derek and Katie Tarver; Jamie Lee; and Walker Wood. Her great-great-granddaughters are Amaya Jennings and Sidni and Brooke Rabon. She loved her nieces and nephews as her own.
Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Hardage-Giddens on Hendricks Avenue in Jacksonville. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Deermeadows Baptist Church, followed by a reception then burial at Restlawn Memorial Park. Flowers are gratefully accepted, or Memorials may be made to Deermeadows Baptist Church, Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, or River Garden Hebrew Home. Proverbs 31:10-31.