Floral 15

Theodora "Dora" Gregory Bell

February 17, 1932 ~ May 25, 2022 (age 90)


Dora Bell wanted to pass away outside, raking leaves or hauling limbs.  But illnesses over the past decade took their toll: she had to leave her land and home in Union, South Carolina, to live with and be cared for by each of her daughters, and, finally, living the last few years at an assisted living home in Atlanta - Delmar Gardens.

It was a different kind of “garden” from her South Carolina home, but thankfully it still gave Dora her own little taste of nature. Birds and butterflies visited her third-story apartment’s plant-filled balcony, the closest thing to her “getting her feet on solid ground.” This bit of nature, exceptional caregivers, family get-togethers, and daily visits from her “grand-dog” sustained her over the past few years. And though she was not hauling limbs, or watering plants, Dora nevertheless had a peaceful passing at Delmar Gardens on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

Born Theodora Gregory, on February 17, 1932, in Union County, S.C., Dora married Royce William Bell, an Air Force master sergeant, in April 1956.

Widowed at 47, Dora reared their two high school-aged daughters in Union and never remarried. She worked for Ellen Sagar Nursing Home for thirty years, doing administration, compliance, insurance, accreditation, payroll, and in helping individual patients and families.

Helping was what Dora felt to be a lifelong duty, taking many forms throughout her life. She helped with the family farm, younger brothers, and her husband’s career; she worshipped, taught, and did bookkeeping for Hebron Baptist Church; she volunteered at schools, learning CPR, chaperoning, serving as room mother and tutor; for neighbors or people in need, she shared garden vegetables, repaired clothes, gave rides, helped with insurance and tax issues; and she donated her time, goods, and money to “places who can use them more than” she could.

Dora made ceramics, created patterns, sewed, collected rare Central American seashells, read a book a day, graduated from Winthrop College, travelled with her military husband, lived in France, Germany, and Panama, collected family antiques, played high school basketball, walked many beaches, was a classic introvert, shelled pecans from her yard, and was an excellent cook of most all things except biscuits.

Theodora Bell’s parents were Broadus and Sara Frances Gregory, of Union.  One brother, Carroll “Sonny” Gregory (Carol) predeceased her. The other, Jerry Gregory (Beverly), lives in Spartanburg, S.C. Daughters are Amy Henderson (Gerald) of Batesburg, S.C. and Cindy Bell (Mike Grable) of Atlanta, Georgia. Grandchildren include Candace Henderson, Sara Henderson Davis, and Annie Henderson Crawford, all of the Columbia area. Great-grandchildren were a pleasure and source of pride to their “Do-Do”; they include middle-schooler Denver Frye, and Crawford toddlers/babies: Colt, Calhoun, Emma and Hank.

Like her husband before her, her parents, grand-parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, farming neighbors, and church friends throughout her 90 years, Dora will be buried in the cemetery of Hebron Baptist Church in Union.

Services for Theodora Gregory Bell will be held Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 1 p.m., in the sanctuary of Hebron Baptist Church in Union, S.C.  

Immediately following will be a graveside prayer, with music from Graeme Smith (of Bridge of Earn, Scotland and recently, Louisville Kentucky), who will for one last time play for Dora the bagpipes she loved to hear.

Reception and refreshments will be held in the church’s fellowship hall afterward; all are invited.

            Memorials may be made to Hebron Baptist Church, 143 Hebron Church Rd., Union, SC 29379.

Arrangements in Georgia are by Carmichaels’ Funeral Home and in South Carolina by Holcombe Funeral Home.

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