BERNICE KIDD BELL, a 26-year teacher at the Grover Cleveland Elementary School, a former model, world traveler and outdoors enthusiast, died Tuesday at the age of 79.
She started teaching at the Cleveland School, 3701 N. 19th St., in the early '60s, fulfilling a lifelong dream of educating and nurturing children.
That dream had been deferred after she moved to Philadelphia from Ohio, and got married in 1947.
But in the late '50s, she was presented with the opportunity to attend Cheyney University, where she excelled academically and socially.
She was on the dean's list regularly and was active in the dramatics club, the debating team, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and was vice president of the senior class.
As a teacher, Bernice won a number of citations and awards for classroom excellence.
She was born in Warren, Ohio, to Mary J. and William Lancit. She was reared by William and Mildred Kidd and took their name.
"They instilled in her at an early age, a strong and solid value system, which stood her in good stead throughout her life," her family said.
After high school, Bernice moved to Philadelphia and married Herbert Kemp. The marriage ended after 20 years, and she married Otis Bell, who shared his love of boating with her.
He had a 32-foot Chris-Craft, which they took into the ocean off Atlantic City to party with friends.
They traveled all over the world, including Europe, Africa and South America. She was also always active in theater and worked in social and service organizations.
Bernice was an active member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Germantown, where she was a member of the Canterbury Society and the Episcopal Church Women, and was a board member of the St. Barnabas Church School, where she continued her love of teaching children.
Besides her husband, she is survived by her son, Herbert Kemp; a sister, Elizabeth Smith; and two grandsons.