Cover photo for Deborah Horton Bell's Obituary
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1949 Deborah Horton Bell 2024

Deborah Horton Bell

July 17, 1949 — June 23, 2024

College Grove

Deborah Horton Bell, 74, passed away on June 23, 2024, in College Grove, Tennessee. She was born on July 17, 1949, in Cherokee, Oklahoma, and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. Deborah was a spirited individual known for her candor and infectious laughter.

As a high school English teacher, Deborah dedicated her professional life to inspiring students with a love of the written word. She attended St. Mary's College in Raleigh, N.C, Memphis State University, and graduated from Oklahoma State University. She carried a passion for literature, the arts, music and politics throughout her career and personal life. After retirement, she fought for Williamson County land preservation, including writing journal entries from a tree’s perspective to save Ruth, a 335-year-old chinkapin white oak. Her most recent project was advocating to save Francis, a 152-year-old pecan tree. She loved The Tennessee Titans and dogs and enjoyed the serenity of her back porch. Most recently, she especially cherished her role as grandmother to her 10-month-old granddaughter.

She is survived by a loving family: her husband Richard Bell, daughter Julia Baird and her husband Chris Baird, granddaughter Lily Blue Baird, sister Katherine Horton, brother Robert Horton and his wife Cathy, nieces Sarah Fritter and her husband Justin, Megan Horton, and grandnephews and cousins were all dear to her. Deborah was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Frances Horton, but their love and memories live on in her family. Deborah's vibrant spirit will be remembered and cherished by all who knew her.

A memorial service will be held in the courtyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Franklin, TN, under the pecan tree named Francis. Her interment of ashes will take place in Cherokee, Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, the family warmly invites you to contribute to local tree-planting charities, a meaningful way to honor Deborah's love for nature.

Deborah's vibrant spirit will be remembered and cherished by all who knew her.

Memorials may be made to the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council, Nashville Tree Foundation or the Arbor Day Foundation. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Deborah Horton Bell, please visit our flower store.


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