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Leila Lorraine Bell

Leila Lorraine Bell

July 17, 1934 –

September 12, 2023


Deeply rooted in her Christian faith and an Iowa heritage, Leila Lorraine Bell lived all but a few years of her earthly life in the Hawkeye State. Born July 17, 1934 in Adair County as the only child of Lee Irvin Speed and Bessie Ellen Speed (nee Brown), Leila grew up in the small town of Fontanelle, a place where church socials and band concerts on the square glued the fabric of community life. Leila was born into the sixth generation of a family who farmed in the Adair County area of western Iowa.


During the Great Depression years of the 1930s Leila’s parents moved with her to find work in California two different times but ended up back in Fontanelle on both occasions. She played basketball at Bridgewater-Fontanelle High School and after graduating married Jack Wain Bell. They started their life together in Guthrie, Oklahoma where their only child Phillip was born. Within two years they were back in Iowa, settling this time in Des Moines where they would remain through more than a half century of marriage. Leila began a professional career in the late 1950s, eventually ending up in personnel at the Iowa National Guard, a job she loved and from which she retired in 1996.


Music was always a driving force in Leila’s life. She often used her talent for playing the piano and her beautiful soprano voice to share a faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. During her retirement she sang with a group of other retirees at various places around Des Moines. She was also active in Christian women’s organizations. Dearest to Leila’s heart above all else was the fellowship she shared with her church family at Lake Country Bible Chapel.


Leila was preceded in death by her husband, Jack, in 2018. She is survived by her son, Phillip.


In the few years before she died on September 12, 2023, Alzheimer’s and dementia slowly and painfully stole away a characteristic joy for living. The wonderful friends who visited and the compassionate caregivers from Wesley Life Hospice selflessly gifted peace, comfort and humanity to Leila during her final days on Earth.


A donation to Wesley Life Hospice is suggested in lieu of flowers.


A memorial service will be held at 11 AM on Tuesday, September 19th at Lake Country Bible Chapel, 13587 NW 122nd Avenue, Madrid.


“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 (KJV)




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