Mrs. Eloise Bell of Newport departed this life on Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Searcy, at the age of 96. She was born April 25, 1921, the daughter of Luther Dugger and Alpha Burns Dugger at the Mount Carmel Community in Newark.
Mrs. Eloise grew up in the Mount Carmel Community and graduated from Newark High School in 1938, where she was a cheerleader. Following high school, she married Mr. Hubert Battles. Together they started their family of three children. Mr. Battles became ill and Mrs. Eloise lost her first husband in 1943, at the age of 27. It was at this time that she began working as a telephone operator for the Southwestern Bell Telephone office in Newark. Upon the closing of the Newark telephone office in 1953, Mrs. Eloise took a position with the Newport Southwestern Bell Telephone office. She and her young family made their home in Newport at that time. Mrs. Eloise later married Mr. John Dunbar and Mr. Tommy V. Bell, who both unexpectedly died in 1959 and 1969 respectively. These three difficult losses gave Mrs. Eloise the strength for which she was so well known.
She had a passion for life, she was totally dedicated to her job with Southwestern Bell, her involvement in the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Collier-Massey V.F.W. Post 4683 and Neil-Griffin Post 47 Ladies Auxiliaries, and the Newport Chamber of Commerce.
Mrs. Eloise spent countless hours volunteering her time to the B & P W Club, who twice voted her as President and Woman of the Year. She was very involved in the Miss Jackson County Pageant sponsored by the B & P W Club. Mrs. Eloise also devoted much of her time to raising money for scholarships given by the V.F.W. and American Legion and reading the essays so many will recall, “The Voice of Democracy.”
This strong and lovely lady will forever be remembered for her consummate professionalism, her classic sense of style, and the way she carried herself with pride and dignity. Many will miss her but none more than those who knew her as “Mama Wease.” Mrs. Eloise was a devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend.
The scripture that most describes her life is, Proverbs 31:25-31, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.” Mrs. Eloise was a member of the Cherokee Street Church of Christ.
Mrs. Bell was preceded in death by her three husbands, Hubert M. Battles, John Dunbar, and Tommy V. Bell; two brothers, Marvin Dugger and Charles Dugger; two sisters, Neva Lee Dugger Terflinger and Zemmarie “Zemmie” Hurley; and her parents.
She is survived by her son, Dr. Larry Battles and wife, Natalie, of Russellville; two daughters, Susie Battles Scott and husband, Johnny, of Heber Springs and Patricia A. Battles-Shoffner of Newport; special nephew, Bobby Dugger of Tulsa, OK; nine grandchildren, Cheryl Mitchell and husband, Steven, of Springfield, OH, Michelle Lassiter and husband, Joey, of Newport, Eric Shoffner and wife, Katrina, of Newport, Amy Young and husband, Tommy, of Tuckerman, Stacy Scott and wife, Dawn, of Washington Courthouse, OH, Chris Shoffner of Fort Smith, Jenny Williams and husband, Clayton of Franklin, TN, Jason Battles and wife, Bethany, of Nolensville, TN; and Angie Johnston and husband, Kyle, of Little Rock; eighteen great grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.
Visitation will be 1:00-2:00 p.m. Tuesday at Jackson’s Newport Funeral Home with funeral services beginning at 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow in Blue Springs Cemetery in Newark.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers are Stacy Scott, Chris Shoffner, Jason Battles, Cody Shoffner, Andrew Shoffner, and Kris Shoffner. Honorary pallbearers will be Tommy Young, Clayton Williams, VFW members, VFW Ladies Auxillary, and former B &PW members.