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Artelia Kelly Bell Murrell departed this life on September 23, 2023, at the Mercy West Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio where she spent the last three weeks of her life.
Artelia Kelly (better known as Tee or Tee Bell) was born on August 5, 1943, she was the only child born to the late Edward Earl Kelly, Sr. and Willie Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Tee spent her early elementary school years in Cincinnati living with her grandmother Mary Hall, aunt Susie Lee and first cousins Robert (Bobby), Jesse (Butch), Vernon, Joann, Brenda, Ronnie and Reggie. Later, her mother moved her from Cincinnati to Cleveland, Ohio where she completed her primary grades and later became an extremely proud alumni of Glenville High School (which was also the alma mater of Steven Harvey, Gerald Levert, Ronald Neal “Superfly”, and many more famous notables). Tee lived on 111th Street in Cleveland where she spent a lot of time with her aunts, uncles and cousins. She loved to ride her bike and spend time with her best friends Peggy and Carol. Tee loved school and she loved to learn. She took special interest in her Latin, Home Economics (she learned to love sewing, crocheting, and cooking) and Choral classes. She took exceptional pride in her high school choir which recorded live concerts and had a record which she held onto and cherished her entire life. She credits her education at Glenville for nurturing her love for the fine arts including classical music, dance, theater and operas.
Tee graduated from Glenville High School in 1962. Shortly after her high school graduation, Tee married her high school sweetheart Mack Anthony Bell at the tender age of nineteen years old. Mack returned to his Army post and later sent for Tee to join him. As a military wife, Mack and Tee were stationed at military bases in Texas, California, Kansas and Panama. During the four years they lived in Panama, they decided to start a family. Ultimately, their process led them to choose to adopt an infant baby girl, Mina, a child of the city and native of the country from the Red Cross. They brought her home and changed her name to Felicia Anne Bell.
Within two years, Mack was commissioned to Tacoma, Washington where the young family lived until his unexpected death in December, 1974-days before their wedding anniversary. In a few short months and after the devastating loss of her husband, Tee decided to return to the Midwest. She spent several months in Cleveland with her mother; and then decided to settle in Cincinnati where she knew her daughter, Felicia, would be surrounded by close family members and all her cousins-“lots of new playmates”. Tee decided to build a brand new home for her and Felicia in a community called The Heritage Farms located within Colerain Township where they both grew to love and cherish the community and the friends for life.
Tee was a strong woman of faith. At the time she moved them to Cincinnati, they immediately joined the Southern Baptist Church under the pastorate of Rev. James E. Milton. She was an active and passionate member of the renowned Southern Baptist Choir under the leadership of world renowned Minister of Music Donald Lawrence, Shawn McMullen, and Donald Fairbanks. Tee loved to attend Sunday School and travel with the church choir.
Tee later moved her mother to Cincinnati where she served her mother as an excellent daughter until her mother’s untimely death. Tee loved to travel. She would travel to many places with Felicia to visit her cousin Butch, Hawaii with her cousin Delores; and they would travel with her step mother Ionie Dothard all over the country to the Lancaster family reunions, bowling, and Eastern Star conventions. She was on a bowling league with her Aunt Dot and Cousin Marilyn. She especially loved attending the Cincinnati Jazz Festivals each year with her Lancaster cousins from Akron, Ohio, playing Bid Wiz with her cousins, family gatherings and Christmas. She was well known for buying Christmas gifts for EVERYONE. She always wanted to make sure that anyone who came into her presence at Christmas received a gift. And she always gave to her family expecting nothing in return.
In 1978, Tee was introduced to Roy by her cousin Delores Brown and Roy’s uncle Dwight (Tony) Butler. After courting for five years, the two joined in holy matrimony on May 12, 1983. The union brought together Felicia and Merlin Jr. The family picked up the traditions of the jazz festival weekends with the Akron Crew, attending the Lancaster, Butler and Murrell family reunions each year and taking the family on trips with Neil and Pam to museums, National Parks and weekend movies at Northgate Mall. In April 1985, Eric Kelly was born to their union. The entire family was excited to welcome a new baby and make him the center of attention.
Tee attended First Baptist Church of WCH every third Sunday to hear Roy play a solo for years. One day in 1984, Tee completely surprised Roy and joined to be a member with him at First Baptist Church of West College Hill. She was a faithful member of the church choir under the leadership of Lloyd Butler, Leslie Foster and later Jerome Johnson.
Tee was dedicated and passionate about her family and her church. She was a faithful part-time employee at Sears for over 25 years off and on…She had a short stint working full time at Star Bank but decided her passion was her customers in retail at Sears. She always wanted to be available to attend school events for her children and later her grandson Swede and grand(cousin) Makeda as much as possible.
Later in life, Tee was slowed down significantly as her health began to deteriorate. However, she continued to have a passion for life and learning, gospel music, Korean cuisine, and Korean gospel music, African history, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! She was a true inspiration to her family and friends.
Tee was preceded in death by her father, Edward E. Kelly; mother, Willie Zachary; stepmother, Ionie Kelly Dothard (Lorenzo “Luke”); brother, Edward Kelly; close aunt Dorothy Hall Chapman.
She leaves to cherish her memory husband Merlin “Roy” Murrell; daughter, Felicia; sons, Merlin Jr. and Eric; grandson, Swede L. Moorman III; cousin/”granddaughter”, Makeda Ferraro; step sister Sara Ann Dothard Holt; sister in laws, Linda Murrell and Helen Dothard Dukes; special friend, JoBeth Bard and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends.