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Lera Judith Carver Bell

Lera Judith (Judy) Carver Bell

April 18, 1932 – August 26, 2019


Judy Bell, 87, of Auburn, Alabama, passed away on Monday, August 26, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she resided close to her eldest daughter the past few months.

She was born in Kathleen, Florida but spent most of her childhood in Branford, Florida.  She was the youngest of 5 children and her primary chore was milking the cows each day. As a teenager, she worked in the family diner and played on the girls’ high basketball team.  She later earned her bachelor’s degree in music from Florida State University.  

On April 18, 1954, Judy married civil engineer Leon McCollister Bell and together they built a life in Florida and Alabama with their 2 daughters, LeAnn and Debbie.  She initially taught music in the public schools but eventually decided to teach private piano lessons in their home. She was a member of the Music Teachers Association, and her gift of teaching made her a well-liked, popular piano teacher to many students over the years. 

Judy was involved in community theatre and had roles in the plays Tom Sawyer, Music Man and Oklahoma.  Her activities also included being a hospital volunteer and performing in a ladies group called “Sweet Notes.” This group sang and did skits at local retirement and nursing home facilities.  Additionally, Judy served faithfully in her church where she taught children’s Sunday school and children’s choir for many years. She was known for her creative educational games and flannel-board story telling. At times she also sang in the adult church choir and was church organist.  

She is preceded in death by her parents, George R. Carver and Vernie Clayton Carver Scoggins; siblings Leo Carver, Maxon Carver, Lamar Carver, and Patsy Carver Disbrow; husband Leon Bell (1980); and granddaughter Bethany Smart (1986).

Judy is survived by daughters LeAnn Bell Smart (Phil Smart) of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Debbie Bell Tidwell (Kenny Tidwell) of Auburn, Alabama; 6 grandchildren – Brandon Smart (Laura Smart), Kevin Smart, Lindsey Smart, Lauren Tidwell Newman (Jonathan Newman), Trent Tidwell (Carly Tidwell) and Chad Tidwell (Taylor Tidwell); 3 great-grandchildren Torah and Henley Smart, and Lily Newman; and many nieces and nephews. 

A graveside service will be held at McCall’s Chapel in Branford, Florida where she will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband, Leon, on September 14, 2019 at 3:00 PM.  Donations to the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home https://home/341860.cloudwaysapps.com/bzyrfzbabw/public_html.alabamachild.org/main/give/give-online-now/ or the Alzheimer’s Association https://home/341860.cloudwaysapps.com/bzyrfzbabw/public_html.alz.org/get-involved-now/ can be made in lieu of flowers.

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