Obituaries 3/1/06


Rev. Jerry Bell

retired pastor

EARLYSVILLE, Va. — The Rev. Jerry Bell, a former member of the North Mississippi Conference, died of cancer on Nov. 8, 2005.

While in Mississippi, the Bells served churches at Tishomingo and Box Chapel in the New Albany District and Benoit and Pace in the Cleveland District.

Rev. Bell was preceded in death by a son, Bob, who died while the family lived in Mississippi.

Survivors include: wife, Arthurene Bell of Earlysville; son, Joe Bell of New York; and daughters, Laura Woodworth of Charlottesville, and Lisa Bacon of Sylva, N.C.

Condolences may be sent to: Mrs. Arthurene Bell, 405 Carriage Hill Drive, Earlysville, VA 22936.


Mamie Lee Ratliff Finger

clergy spouse

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Mamie Lee Ratliff Finger, a resident of Givens Estates, died Feb. 13, 2006.

Services were held Feb. 16 in the Performing Arts Center of Oxford Commons at Givens Estates. Groce Funeral Home of Arden, N.C. is handling arrangements.

Born in Sherard, Miss., Jan. 26, 1918, Mrs. Finger was the daughter of the late Cora Rodman Ratliff and William Hardy Ratliff.

In 1942 she married Homer Ellis Finger Jr., now a retired bishop, at First United Methodist Church in Clarksdale, Miss. Fifty years later, the couple was honored at a homecoming celebration at the Coldwater United Methodist Church, where he was preaching when they married, followed by a reception at First United Methodist Church in Clarksdale. Dr. W.J. Cunningham, who performed the wedding ceremony in 1942, blessed the marriage again in 1992.

In 1952, Rev. Finger, then 38, became president of Millsaps College in Jackson and the family lived on the campus until 1964. Mrs. Finger was actively involved in the campus life, welcoming new students into their home each fall and honoring many students and faculty in special observances throughout the year.

In 1964, Rev. Finger was elected bishop. He served the Tennessee Conference and for many years they maintained two homes, one at Junaluska and one in Knoxville. In recent years, they have lived at the Givens Estates in Asheville, N.C., a United Methodist retirement area.

Mrs. Finger was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., and received an honorary doctor of literature degree from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea.

Mrs. Finger wrote two booklets of free verse. In 2000, she penned Reverie and Reality, and in 2001 Windows. The preface to Windows states: “The doors to my creativity have finally opened, so now I’m working on the windows.” She also wrote a biography of her mother, titled Cora Rodman Ratliff: A Woman of Courage and Vision.

She was a member of Central United Methodist Church in Asheville; chair of the International Foundation for Ewha Women’s University; a participant in women’s history research at the national level; and active in United Methodist Community Services in Nashville and Knoxville.

Other survivors include: sons, Homer Ellis Finger III of Easton, Pa., and William Ratliff Finger of Raleigh; daughter, Elizabeth Ellen Finger of Arden and five grandchildren.

Memorial gifts may be directed to Givens Estates, Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803 or to the Lake Junaluska Assembly Foundation, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745.