Jeddo Bell passes away at 76

Published 6:25 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A longtime city councilman, educator and one of the Camellia City’s staunchest and most gracious of “cheerleaders” has passed away. Jeddo Bell, 76, died on Wednesday morning after a lengthy illness.

Bell, a 1947 graduate of the Covington County Training School, went on to spend an impressive four-and-a-half decades as an educator within the Butler County School System and at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, teaching English, French and adult education classes. He was also an accomplished musician whose piano performances were unforgettable, as well as a talented cook.

After retiring from teaching, Bell did not choose to rest on any laurels, no matter how well deserved. He continued to serve the community when he was elected to the Greenville City Council in 1996. In 2016, he was elected to his fifth term as a representative for District 5.

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Bell served in various capacities during his time on the city council, including serving as Mayor Pro-Tem from 2003 until earlier this year when health issues forced him to step down.

Throughout the past two decades, Bell has served appointments on the board of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, the Butler County Industrial Development board, the Greenville-Butler County Public Library board and the Greenville Water Works and Sewer board.

Bell also took some time to teach a beginning French class to local elementary students, an experience he described as very enjoyable and rewarding.

In the fall of 2016, he was honored by the Andalusia Outstanding Graduate committee at a special awards luncheon. Bell was unable to attend the function due to health concerns, but Greenville’s mayor Dexter McLendon accepted the award on his behalf. At that time, McLendon lauded the councilman for being such a special individual.

“It was a great honor for me to be able to do anything like that for Mr. Bell, because he’s such a great guy . . . I got to thinking about what I wanted to say, and I think the thing that comes to mind is that Jeddo makes us look good,” McLendon said when presenting the award to Bell at a Greenville City council meeting in September 2016.

“He just makes this city look good, and he makes all of us better . . . everybody knows him, and everybody thinks he’s the greatest.”

That “everyone” certainly included former Greenville city clerk Sue Arnold, who expressed her deep sadness at the loss of Bell, describing him as “a southern gentleman and a dedicated educator and statesman.”

On Wednesday, McLendon said with the passing of Bell the city had lost a great man and that he had lost a good friend.

“He loved the community and it loved him back. I’d go out to eat with him and certainly some people would come up to speak to me, but it was nothing compared to those coming by to speak to Jeddo. And he remembered them all by name. If they were former students, he remembered when they all graduated. I’ve never seen anything like it. He was the kind of person you just wanted to be around because he displayed such a positive spirit,” said McLendon.

“Jeddo gave so much to this city and to our city council over the past 20 years. His personality helped bring our council together as a group which made us work well together. I don’t believe I’d be where I am today in city government without Jeddo’s presence in my life. If everyone in the world was like him, we’d pretty much have a perfect world. It’s no exaggeration to say Jeddo felt like a brother to me. I am very sad to know he’s gone, and he will definitely be missed.”