Mella Bell Townsend age 102 departed this earthly life peacefully on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at the Earnestine M. Raclin House (Center of Hospice Care).
She was born May 31, 1919 in Kilmichael, Mississippi to the late George B. and Martha (Doris) Townsend.
On May 10th, 1945 Mella was united in holy matrimony to William (Bill) Mayes who preceded her in death in 1960. Mella was the oldest child of 15 siblings. Her formal education at Washington High School was cut short when she decided to enter the work force at an early age to help support her family. Mella worked odd jobs as a domestic before she found employment at Ziker Cleaners as a linen and silk finisher. With her earnings she was able to support her family and buy her father his first car. Later she would own her own business, the G & B Liquor Store, and retire 35 years later.
Mella and her siblings grew up in their family church, Lake Chapel, today known as Lake Chapel Primitive Baptist Church. This church was built by her father and his three brothers. She later joined Bethlehem Baptist Church,where she served for over 40 years. She was a faithfulmember of the Mother Board and Sunday School.
Mella enjoyed the outdoors, working in her flower and vegetable gardens. She loved to cook and was famous for her homemade rolls. She was a collector of dolls. Her home showcases over 50 dolls and handmade outfits she sewed.
When Mella turned 100 years old, she was awarded a Key to the City of South Bend. When asked how she lived to be 100, she said that her faith in God and keeping Him first in her life made the difference.
Mella will be remembered for her genuine love for family and friends. Her life was a life of sacrifice and giving.
Mella leaves to cherish her memory: two sisters: Elizabeth Stone, of South Bend, Georgia Bradshaw, of Gary, Indiana, and one brother- in- law: Bemis Blake of South Bend, along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and special friends Yvette Johnson and Nellie Patterson.
Preceding her in death were her loving parents: George B. and Martha (Doris) Townsend, five brothers: Benjamin, Ernest, Calvin, Arthur, and Allen Townsend, and seven sisters: Ella Pope, Maude Hall, Elva Williams, Norsis Stricklen, Bernice Flint, Geraldine Blake, and Gloria Burton.
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