Everything for Your Home's
Beauty, Comfort & Convenience 384-2123
704 Jamestown St, Columbia
Dr. Ronald P. Rogers
Support for your body's natural healing capabilities
Click here for details
Columbia Walmart Supercenter
Open 24 Hours
Click here for information
Real Estate & Auction Co.
Duo County Telecom
Now Available Through
Your Cable Service!
GUN & PAWN
What's Going On
Info about the
Janice Holt Giles
and Henry Giles Society
Columbia Gas Dept.
GAS LEAK or GAS SMELL
24 hrs/ 365 days
270-384-2006 or 9-1-1
Call before you dig
Directory of Churches
phone numbers and more
for churches in Adair County
REMEMBERING LEONARD BELL: 'He was a class act'
If Leonard Bell had gone to Nashville when he was a youth, the sky would have been the limit. - BILLY HOWELL
By Ed Waggener
To Hodgenville funeral director Billy Howell, it is a simple assessment: Leonard Bell was the most talented individual I've ever known, he said
Mr. Howell is one of tens of thousands across the state of Kentucky and nearby states who had come to know and love this warm-hearted man who could move audiences with his music in ways few others, ever, could do.
"Whenever I knew he was performing in Larue County," Mr. Howell said, "I'd try to attend. One time he was playing at a small church. I was late, and when I walked in the back door, an old fellow smiled at me and said, 'Leonard is playing with an attitude tonight!"
"If Leonard Bell had gone to Nashville when he was a youth, the sky would have been the limit," Mr. Howell said.
It's often held that a musician and his instrument become as one; with Leonard Bell, it was more, when he "played with an attitude." It was as if Leonard Bell, his keyboard, his backup singers and his audience were as one. And when he played Gospel, they were all as one with the Lord.
Leonard Thomas Bell died at Ephraim McDowell Hospital in Danville, KY, as the result of an automobile accident in Lincoln County, Sunday morning, September 11, 2005, while on his way to First Baptist Church, Second and Walnut, in Danville.
Details have been hard to get. But the word we have so far is that he drove into a ditch to avoid an oncoming car. The other car had taken the ditch trying to avoid him. In the process, two unselfish people lost their lives.
At the time of the accident, he was on his way to a little church in Glendale to lead the Sunday morning singing, we've been told.
Mr. Bell is from Indiana. He had retired after a lifetime career in the office at American Barge Lines in Jeffersonville, IN, Billy Howell remembers. "Now he just drove around the country as a minister of music for small churches," Mr. Howell said.
Leonard Bell has lived on Bomar Heights in Columbia for the past seven years. He had married Phyllis Winfrey in 1998 and moved here.
He often performed in churches in the community and at community events. He was a favorite at the Dream Depot in Columbia.
There was a way about the man - you can see it in his face, in the smile, in the photo which accompanies these articles - which brought out the best in people.
He was a teacher who could teach without the student knowing the subjection of being taught. Elaine Bennett, the manager of the Dream Depot, remembers that gentle way of his teaching.
"I had the honor of singing in one of the choirs he had. I think it was Black History Month, at Lindsey," she said.
"I was really nervous about it, because I had never sung in a choir before. I'm not good at being directed. I like to just let it fly," she said. "but Bro. Leonard was really gentle. He wanted me to take a solo line, and I told him I wasn't a soloist.""I don't do solos, I told him," Elaine said, "and he said that was okay. He agreed. Then he said, 'When I get to this part, you sing it,' as though I'd be singing along on the part with several others. But when I got to the part and sang, I was through the line before I realized I had sung alone. He had built my confidence up that much."
We haven't learned, at this time, whether there are enough of Leonard Bell's performances which have been recorded to keep a record of a good part of his body of work.
There's at least one tape of a show at the Dream Depot in Columbia which has four or five Gospel songs on it. It and the other recordings will be lasting proof of Leonard Bell's greatness.
Leonard Bell was always a favorite at the Depot. When he sang "Get on That Gospel Train," there wasn't a still toe or a dry eye in the house.
Just how good was he? How much have we lost? Billy Howell says the loss is immeasurable.
"I'm a great Ray Charles fan," he says. "I love Ray Charles. But Leonard Bell could put Ray Charles to shame," Billy Howell said.
"I'll tell you this," he said. "If I had had an opportunity to be given a free ticket costing $7,500 by anybody else, or a chance to have gone to hear Leonard, and I had to take one or the other, I'd go hear Leonard Bell."
"He was a class act."
Black and white photo from early print edition of Columbia! Magazine taken at a local arts festival of The Adair County Community Workshop Choir under the direction of Leonard Bell
This story was posted on 2005-09-13 04:30:18
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.
To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.
More articles from topic News:
Dream Depot benefit at Fiesta Mexico raises $1,200 for WAIN Katrina relief
Meet the Good Shepherds at Columbia's Catholic Church store
AGENDA: Adair County Fiscal Court Regular Meeting, September 13, 2005
Second Annual Breeding community reunion is October 15, 2005
Family Resources Center offers parenting classes
Public invited: CU hosts discussion about federal budget
Columbian member of Indiana State Champion barbecue team
Dream Depot benefit to be at Fiesta Mexico for Katrina relief
Mr. and Mrs. Gerhard Lepiarczyk Celebrate Their 50th Wedding Anniversary
Beth and Tyler Kimbler taken to Westlake Hospital after auto accident
View even more articles in topic News
Click for Info
Bank of Columbia
If You're Thinking of Selling,
Let Us Do the Yelling
Principal Broker & Auctioneer
Burton Real Estate
& Auction Service
Call Us For Appraisals
Click for Listings
On This Site
or Click Here
Columbia in the Movies
from the archives of
Click for Stories
The Best of
Local Stories of
The Greatest Generation
Order Book or e-Book
See who's celebrating
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Special Events List
Find Great Stuff in
Antiques, Help Wanted,
Autos, Real Estate,
Legal Notices, More...
ColumbiaMagazine.com content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Contact us: Columbia Magazine and columbiamagazine.com are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.