Wilma Corene Bell was born in Haskell, Texas on Aug. 8, 1917. Her parents were Rhea and Isobella Hays. She passed away on May 27, 2018, in Louisville, Ky.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother John V. Hays of Safford, Ariz.
Wilma spent most of her life in Texas, Arizona and California. She met her husband, William H. Bell in Safford, Ariz. while they were both in high school in Safford. Prior to that they had both lived in Phoenix and Miami, Ariz.
They were married on July 17, 1938, in Safford, Ariz. and soon began their lives in the ministry. William H. Bell volunteered in World War II as a Chaplain for the 10th Mountain Division. After the war’s end they began a series of ministries in Texas, Arizona and California.
While living in Redlands they pastored at Temple Baptist Church (now Pathway) where they sponsored numerous missions in the Inland Empire, one which is now the Fellowship of the Pass in Beaumont. They also pastored Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church in Riverside and churches in Hanford, Calif., Rancho Cucamonga, Fountain Valley, Calif., and San Jacinto.
In addition to being a pastor’s wife, Wilma became actively involved in the Southern Baptist WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union) organization, volunteering her time in leading conferences in California and nationwide. She continued to create beautiful counted cross-stich works of art as long as her sight permitted. Wilma was also known for her country cooking, especially her buttermilk pies.
Pastor William H. Bell passed away on March 4, 2009, and was buried in Safford, followed by his wife Wilma on June 2, 2018.
Wilma is survived by her daughter Linda M. Clark and her husband Jan L Clark, of Sellersburg, Ind.; and her son, Bill Rhea Bell and his wife, Gloria Bell of Banning. She is also survived by three grandchildren: Wayne Clark, Phillip Clark, and Janna McCarty and seven great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers Wilma Bell requested that donations be made to the Jackson Reese Endowment Fund for Worldcrafts at 100 Missionary Ridge, Birmingham, AL, 35242.