Antonia Watson Bell, 82, a life-long resident of Roanoke, AL, moved from time to eternity on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. This phenomenal odyssey of life began on July 13, 1937 in the home of James and Ida Heath Watson with the birth of a baby girl named Antonia. She grew under the tutelage of a loving and supportive family. As a part of her maturation, Antonia accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and was baptized at the Peace & Goodwill Baptist Church and later united with the Wehadkee Baptist Church. Her devotion to God and support of others were hallmarks of her life’s calling to serve this present age.
After marrying the love of her life, Myris L. Bell, Antonia devoted herself to the nurture of her husband and family for the next 65 years. In this role, Antonia epitomized the virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman: Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
The union of Antonia and Myris was blessed with six children. She smiled at the future and looked well to the ways of her household. She carefully watched over her household and was proud and protective of her family and sought every opportunity to ensure their success in life.
Antonia was a people person and never met a stranger. Those who had the pleasure of spending any appreciable time with her knew that she was an ardent follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest desire was for her family, friends, and acquaintances to know Him as she did. She actively engaged in the work of ministry through her involvement at the local, district, state and national levels. As she served this present age, Antonia had an inquisitive mind, a ready mind and a servant’s heart. Whether serving as a Sunday school teacher or in the missionary society at Wehadkee, or as president of the Southwestern Union District Women’s Auxiliary or as chairperson of the Northeast District State Convention President’s Department, Antonia gave it her all. She actively sought to expand the Kingdom and make disciples for the Lord.
She served with fervency in many organizations who sought to advance the cause of Christ, promote active learning and enhance the lives of others: Amicae Club, Lily White No. 352 OES, Southside Progressive Club, Chair of the Randolph County Chapter of the Alabama Democratic Conference, American Red Cross, United Way, Boys and Girls Club, Roanoke City Board of Education, City of Roanoke Education Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, Project Share, Roanoke Soup Kitchen, QA member of the Randolph County Department of Human Resources, and reporter for (Negro) news in the Randolph Leader. She was also a contributor to the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention Women’s Auxiliary Mission Guide.
The legacy of Antonia is sustained by the love of her family and friends. Her memories are indelibly imprinted in the hearts and minds of her husband of 65 years, Reverend Myris L. Bell of Roanoke; six children: Sherridian Ann (Melvin) Frazier, Opelika, Deborah Lynne (Reverend Melvin) Owens, Opelika, Felix Denard (Robin) Bell, Roanoke, Janice Denise (Whit) Allen, Opelika, Ritchie Valentino (Delsey) Bell, Lanett, Chandra Elaine (Rodney) Darden, Opelika; ten grandchildren: Brian (April) Owens, Felix (Mary) O’Neal, Christopher (Malissa) Frazier, Gregory Frazier, Jason (Tiffany) Bell, Keon (Tiffany) Buchanan, Brandon Bell, Brittany Darden, Tiara Bell and Ashley Darden, seven great grandchildren; two sisters: Mary Sue Tatum, Roanoke and Gloria Powell, Detroit, MI; sisters-in-law: Beatrice Watson, Montgomery and Bobbie Newman, Pineville, LA; several nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Antonia possessed both charm and beauty, she was a woman who feared the Lord and should be praised for all she has done! We rejoice in the knowledge that while Antonia is absent in the body, she is present with the Lord.
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