Catherine E. Bell, a cherished mother, daughter, wife and friend, died Nov. 21 at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s in Westerville.
Known as Cathy to her many friends, the 88-year-old was a devout Christian and spent many years ministering to congregations with her late husband, the Rev. Woodrow W. Bell.
Catherine was born Jan. 15, 1933, in Marion to the late Helen Goldie Sprague and Lewis William Barnett. She graduated from Marion Harding High School in 1952, after completing her senior year while working half days at Fulfillment Corp. of America through a vocational program. Catherine worked as a key punch operator at Marion Power Shovel and as a stenographer at the Marion County Courthouse and Marion General Hospital. In 1954, she traveled to Orléans, France, where she married Richard W. Kuhlman, who was serving in the U.S. Army. While living abroad, she taught Sunday school to children of U.S. servicemen at a Baptist church on the military base. Catherine returned to the U.S. in 1956 and began working for Marion Metal Products as a secretary.
She and Richard became the proud parents of David Kuhlman and Marla Kuhlman in the 1960s, and they survive. While raising her children, Catherine taught youth and worked as a secretary at Oakland United Methodist Church, where she’s a current member. Catherine married Woodrow Bell in 1976 and moved with her two children to Bowling Green, where they served Webster and Cloverdale United Methodist churches until 1990. Upon returning to Marion, Catherine and Woodrow served as a ministry visitation team for Green Camp United Methodist Church from 1991 to 1997.
She was a skilled vocalist, joining the Oakland United Methodist Church choir at age 17. Catherine studied voice for two years and was a member of the Marion Lecture Recital Club for three years. She sang in the traditional Marion Civic Chorus’ annual presentation of Handel’s "Messiah" at Epworth United Methodist Church. She also was a member of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church Singing Wives of Ministers Choir.
Catherine dedicated her life to Christ as a young woman, and she lived her life for Him. Her testimony is that He led her every step of the way. Her beloved Woodrow said he would be anxiously waiting for her at the Eastern Gate. He preceded her in death in 2008.
In addition to her children, Catherine is survived by her dear cousins Herman and Roy Sprague and their families, her church family, the extended Bell and Kuhlman families and her best four-legged friends, Woody and Sandy.
Rev. Jerry Frazee, of Waldo/Oakland United Methodist and family member Pastor David Rush, of Fairpark Baptist, are officiating. Funeral services to be held at 12 noon Friday, Nov. 26 at Oakland United Methodist with visitation one hour prior. Burial to follow at Marlborough Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made in Catherine’s name to assist in covering funeral expenses at Boyd Funeral Home, 122 W. Columbia St., Marion OH 43302.