|Claribel Kilpatrick was born in Grant Parish, Louisiana on October 29, 1919 to Claude and Arbelle Poole Kilpatrick. She lived life as a Christian first and a loving Mother and Mama second. The fourth of seven sisters. "Belle" lost her mother at a young age. They were placed in a Jennings, Louisiana Children's Home when her father proved unable to care for his family. When she was five years old, William E. and Lucille Mount of Ponchatoula took in Belle and younger sister Ruby on a trial basis. Although they were never legally adopted, the girls stayed with "Mother and Daddy Mount" for almost 11 years and formed a lifelong relationship.
This was, a wonderful time in Belle's life. She had many fond memories of the Mounts and enjoyed telling stories from that period to her own children and grandchildren. In one grand adventure, a bank robber kidnapped Belle and Ruby in hopes of robbing the Bank of Ponchatoula, where Daddy Mount was the bank president. However, Daddy Mount foiled the robber's scheme by changing the time on a clock, which prevented the robber from accessing the bank vault. According to Belle, the worst part of the experience was being rescued in time to go to school! In the mid I930s, Daddy Mount's bank failed and hard times forced the Mounts to place Belle and Ruby in a girls home in New Orleans. Just before her senior year in high school, Belle went to live with her oldest sister, Corinne Cawthon, in West Carroll Parish. She graduated from Pioneer High School wearing a graduation dress that Mother Mount bought. Soon after, Belle met Arby Wade Coody and they married on January 11, 1939.
During their 45-year marriage, Arby and Belle raised five children in a household centered on the Methodist church. They served 16 appointments during Arby's career, the last of which was in Marion. Upon Arby's retirement, the First United Methodist Church in Bastrop provided a home, where they lived for many years. Arby passed away in 1984 and Belle eventually moved to Monroe, closer to her daughters and grandchildren.
Always active in the church, Belle was a Sunday School teacher and The Women's Society of Christian Service was dear to her heart. She had an enviable creative streak and was a talented artist. She won numerous awards for her paintings, including the Cameron Parish Fur Festival. She got pleasure from hanging once in the Masur Museum's juried show in Monroe, Louisiana. She also enjoyed following the activities of her children and attended Northeast Louisiana College for a few years while her son was a student. She was an avid gardener and bird watcher. She was a great collector and had the uncanny ability to create something beautiful from something "she just picked up." Her stamps, coins, and spoons were a great joy to visiting grandchildren! Belle was the much-loved matriarch of a large and ever-growing family. At the time of her death, she had five children, 13 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. Survivors include Elaine C. Shivor and husband Robert of Calhoun, Louisiana; Carolyn D. Courtney and husband Michael of Katy, Texas; A. Wade Coody, Jr. and wife Julia of` Tyler, Texas; Mary C. Barnett and husband Samuel of Monroe, Louisiana; Wanda C. McElroy and husband Ted of Monroe, Louisiana. Her sisters include Corinne Cawthon of Pioneer, Louisiana; Ruth Reynolds of Bastrop, Louisiana and Lodis Tate of Satsuma, Louisiana. Claribel was the kind of Christian, parent, and grandparent that all of us strive to be and she made it seem effortless.
Her Loving Family
|Source: Louisiana Conference Journal 2004|