|Birth: ||Apr. 4, 1922|
|Death: ||Dec. 7, 2005|
A homemaker, Girl Scout leader, and PTA officer, Manie (pronounced "May-Nay") Kathleen Bell Neely grew up during the Great Depression. She was a graduate of Savannah High School and attended Calvary Baptist Temple in Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia where, like her sister, she was a member of the Love Sunday School Class. In Savannah she was a member of the Coffee League bowling team at Victory Lanes and won a trophy for "Most Improved Bowler." For many years she was a secretary at her daughter's high school, Druid Hills High School in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia.
Kathleen was born Tuesday, April 4, 1922 in Savannah the daughter of Marvin Barnard Bell and Nevada McClelland Bell. She was born on her maternal grandfather's birthday. Her maternal grandparents thought that, as a newborn, Kathleen looked like their first born, Gertrude McClelland. Her first word was "tree." From 1924 to 1927 the Bells lived in Avondale in Savannah. From 1928 to 1930 they lived at 413 Gaston Street in Savannah. By 1932 they lived at 509 Gaston Street in Savannah. Growing up, Kathleen learned to play both the violin and the piano. She loved to roller skate and to sew. She was especially close to her first cousin, Ernestine Moore Marsh. Ernestine and Kathleen's mothers were sisters. Growing up, the cousins spent part of the summer on the Moores' farm in Ludowici, Georgia and part of the summer in the city at the Bells' home in Savannah, Georgia.
Kathleen was married during World War II on Saturday, August 21, 1943 at the First Baptist Church in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio to her high school sweatheart, Joseph Bowden Neely, Jr.. Kathleen and Joe had met backstage at Savannah High School in a pageant in which Joe played Indian chief Tomochichi and Kathleen played a Greek goddess. Their only child is Sharlotte ("Sharkey") Kathleen Neely Donnelly (anthropologist, wife, mother, and grandmother). Joe, Kathleen, and Sharlotte lived in Savannah until 1962 and then moved to the Atlanta area, living in DeKalb County. Years after Joe's death, Kathleen lived in Rockdale County, Georgia, near Conyers. Kathleen moved back to Savannah a few years before her death. Their only grandchild is Mary Kathleen Bridgette Elisabeth Donnelly. Their only great-grandchild is Mary Kathleen Quinn Donnelly, pictured here between her great-grandparents' graves. Quinn is said to look a lot like her great-grandmother Kathleen. Kathleen's only sibling was her younger sister E. Lois Bell Myatt.
Kathleen was 83 when she died on Wednesday, December 7, 2005, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, in Savannah. She is buried in the Neely family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah next to her beloved husband Joe. Her funeral was at Fox and Weeks Funeral Home in Savannah.
She passed along her love of animals, especially cats and dogs, to her daughter Sharlotte.
Kathleen's ancestry was Scots-Irish, Scots, Welsh, English, German, and--through the Bell, Martin, and Strickland surnames--Native American (Lumbee). Through the Cone branch of the family, she was descended from Conn of the Hundred Battles, the first high king of Ireland. Kathleen was a direct descendant of 18th century artist Joseph Badger.
Like her mother, Kathleen's Native American line goes back to the Coree Indians who lived on the Atlantic coast along the Virginia/North Carolina border. By the late 17th century, the Coree population had declined due to disease and war. During the Tuscarora War, some of the surviving Coree fled south seeking refuge among the Cheraw Indians. Later some surviving Cheraws, remnants of other Indian groups, whites, and African Americans became the basis of the contemporary Lumbee Indians.
Kathleen and all her direct female descendants and ancestors are of the matrilineal clan of "Katrine" (mtDNA haplogroup K). DNA matriline testing reveals that is the same matrilineal clan the 5,000-year-old "Ice Man" found in the Alps is from. Katrine was one of seven women from whom almost everyone of European ancestry is descended. Katrine lived about 15,000 years ago on the southern slopes of the Alps in northern Italy near present-day Venice, Italy. Her people were hunters who lived on ibex and chamois and supplemented their diet with roots and small mammals. About 10% of people of European ancestry are descended from Katrine.
Most of this information comes from Kathleen's mother Nevada McClelland Bell, her husband Joseph Bowden Neely, Jr., and her daughter Sharlotte Neely Donnelly. Any errors are mine alone. Please go to the "edit" link on this site with any corrections or additions.
Marvin Barnard Bell (1897 - 1940)
Nevada McClelland Bell (1894 - 1985)
Joseph Bowden Neely (1923 - 1974)
Manie Kathleen Bell Neely (1922 - 2005)
Edna Lois Bell Myatt (1926 - 2011)*
"Beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister."
Plot: Section L, Lot 355, Space 9
Created by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
Record added: Jan 04, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 12888414