Leona Marie Kelle Bell © Roberts and Sons Funeral Home 01-2020 Submitted by: Glenn
January 4, 1927 - January 30, 2020
Leona Marie Bell (Kelle), 93, passed away of natural causes on Thursday, January 30th in Harbor Springs, MI. Leona was a long-time resident of Moberly, MO. She was born on January 4, 1927, in Blackwell, OK to the late Walter and Martha (Reinking) Kelle. Leona married Fred Richard Bell in 1945 in Wichita, KS. In 1954 Leona and Richard bought a farm in Monroe County, Missouri where they moved with their four children. Leona later moved with her family to Moberly, MO in 1961 where she and her husband attended Moberly Junior College. After attaining her Bachelor's Degree from Missouri University and finally a Master's Degree and a Certificate of Specialization in English Education, Leona became an English educator. She began her 30 year teaching career at Moberly High School and later at the Moberly Area Community College.
Leona had many interests and hobbies including playing tennis, reading, playing the piano, and birding. These interests led her to become an actively involved community member in the city of Moberly. There are numerous clubs and organizations to whom Leona volunteered her time over the years including the local public library as well as the parks and recreation department. Additionally, Leona started a high school girls tennis team in the early 1970s and then later created the Moberly tennis association in 1994. She continued playing tennis until her later years and has a trophy collection to match her talent. Leona won a gold medal in the 2002 Missouri State Senior Games for the women's singles division at the age of 75. Her love for Rothwell Park was strong and she made it a priority to keep it beautiful. Leona could often be found walking in the park by herself or with family members. She always brought a bag to collect trash she found along the way and required her grandchildren do the same.
Leona was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Fred Richard Bell; brother, Aubrey Kelle; two sisters, Verna McKenzie and Maxine Nixon; and daughter-in-law, Wanda Bell.
Leona is survived by her son Robert Bell of Carrollton, MO, daughter Nancy Freeman (Kenneth) of Harbor Springs, MI, daughter Marilyn Summerlin (Robert) of Birmingham, AL and son Merlin Bell (Penny) of Leon, IA. Seven grandsons, Lance Bell (Heidi) of Weldon, IA, Michael Bradford of Birmingham, AL, Jeffrey Bradford (Rebecca) of Coral Springs, FL, Matthew Bell (Jennifer) of Lee’s Summit, MO, John Summerlin of Atlanta, GA, Greg Summerlin of Dothan, AL, and Chad Sampsel (Tonya) of Warsaw, MO; Ten granddaughters, Jaime Holden (Nikolas) of Petoskey, MI, Karen McNarney (Christopher) of Thiensville, WI; Lacey Bell of Leon, IA; Brooke Woodham (Michael) of Riverside, IL, Kristine Bell of Seattle, WA, Kelle Summerlin of Atlanta, GA, Michelle Freeman of Moberly, MO, Kellie Smothers (James) of Moberly, MO, Staci Crawford (Jim) of Fort Worth, TX and Lori McCombs (William) of Lee’s Summit, MO as well as many great grandchildren, additional family members and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either Moberly Parks and Recreation, the Moberly Branch of the Little Dixie Regional Libraries or the Moberly Area Community College.
A celebration of Leona's life will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Blackwell Cemetery, 3500 South Main Street in Blackwell, OK.
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