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Wanda Merlene Fincher Cox Bell, 1922–2021

Thursday, October 14, 2021
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Wanda Merlene Fincher Cox Bell was born to Charlie Wright and Emma Sarah (Hunnicutt) Fincher on November 20, 1922 in Girard, Texas. She was the eighth child and third daughter of 10 children. She is preceded in death by her parents; all of her siblings, Amos, Warren, Joe, Don, Gerald, C.W., Gussie Dean, Bonnie Simpson and Evelyn Murdoch; two husbands, Marshall Cox and R.J. Bell; and her daughter-in-law, Janet Parrish Cox.

She was a graduate of Girard High School, Class of 1940. She was a standout ball player on her high school girls’ basketball team. Upon graduation in May of 1940, she dated and fell in love with Marshall Carnelious Cox. They were married on December 28, 1940.

On December 7, 1941 she gave birth to her first child, Larry Cornelious. While she was waiting to give birth, her father, her husband and the doctor were in a room across the hall from her room listening to the radio about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

On March 21, 1946 she gave birth to her daughter, Merlene Marsanette, at Nichols General Hospital, in Spur Texas.

Wanda was raised on a cattle producing farm and continued to work in that field of endeavor, including cotton chopping, pulling bolls, and heading maize. Along with this work she was a caregiver to her mother and to her children.

In 1946, she and Marshall worked a farm in Espuela, Texas, adjoining the Spur Ranch headquarters until they moved in 1948 to work for Swift Milk and Cream Company in Spur, where Larry began first grade at Ward Elementary School. Later that year they moved to Van, Texas, for Marshall to work for his brother-in-law in the Homer Tunnel Grocery Store. In 1949 they moved back to Girard to continue, once again, farming the land. In 1950 they moved to Jayton and became tenant farmers on the piece of property that her mother had inherited. In the 1950s they purchased this land, and she continued to help Marshall farm the land. It was said that she and Marshall could pull a bale of cotton in one day.

Wanda became employed by the Jayton Rural High School as a cafeteria worker in 1961, under the supervision of R.N. Pierce, superintendent. Later she became the cafeteria supervisor and continued as such until she retired in 1989. In her years of retirement she worked at the same school in the Green Thumb Program and also took care of Marshall during his failing health. He passed away in December 1997.

From 1985 until 2009 her daughter Marsanette moved back in with her and Marshall, and they were able to be her support system until Marshall passed away and Wanda continued to have Marsanette live with her until 2009.

In 2010 Wanda married R.J. Bell of Spur, Texas. They lived in Jayton until his death in 2013. In 2014 Wanda could no longer live alone due to failing health, so she moved to Cranfills Gap with Larry.

Up until she moved to Cranfills Gap, she was active in her church, Jayton FBC. She was always helping to cook and serve food for many different occasions. She also spent a lot of time visiting her friends and neighbors. During the summer and at holidays she enjoyed hosting her grandchildren who came to visit from Cranfills Gap. She would always make them hotcakes for breakfast and bake them their favorite pie, coconut cream.

Her long, full life was completed at Larry’s house, surrounded by friends and family. She went to her heavenly reward on September 28, 2021 about 6:30 p.m.

Funeral services were held on October 3, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Jayton, Texas with Pastor Jake Edwards officiating. She was buried at the Jayton Cemetery beside her husband, Marshall, of 57 years, under the direction of the Zapata Funeral Home.

She is survived by her son, Larry Cox; her daughter, Marsanette Cox, of Midland; three stepsons, Hardy, Roddy and wife Cathy, and Duke Bell; her granddaughter, Judith Cox Gallegos and husband Thomas; grandson Jason Cox and wife Casandra; great-granddaughter Jasi Gallegos Prachyl and husband, Bryson; and greatgrandsons Cason and Jake Cox.

The family wishes to express our sincere thanks to all of the special people who helped Wanda, our mother and grandmother, in her last years and weeks. Your love and care is forever appreciated.