May Bell Bethea was born May 9, 1940, in Dillon, South Carolina, to Annie Mae and Luther Bethea. On September 18, 2014, while surrounded by family, she departed her earthly life and transitioned into eternal rest with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
She attended Gordon High School in Dillon, South Carolina. May Bell and Harold Couser met in Jersey City, N.J. The couple later married on November 11, 1957 in Jersey City, and began their family. From this union, they had three children, Brenda, Brice and Angela. May Bell was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and aunt.
Before retiring in 2010, she worked at the Urban League of Hudson County several years. May Bell had previously been employed at Petrie Retail Stores in Secaucus, N.J., where she worked more than 20 years. A long-time congregant of Monumental Baptist Church in Jersey City, N.J., May Bell served as a Mother of the church and as a member of its Mothers Circle Board. She was an Eastern Star sister of O.E.S. Lydia Chapter 23.
Her life is her testimony - one that revealed her deep love for Jesus Christ. May Bell was faithful and committed to the Lord and to her family. A prayer warrior, she constantly encouraged her relatives and friends to take time out for God and to pray. She was a missionary at heart. Without hesitation, when asked, May Bell did everything she could to accommodate the needs of her loved ones, her friends and sometimes, even strangers, with joy. So often, she did not need to be asked. She just did: offer a ride to the grocery store; give gifts, big and small; or bake a three-layered cake. May Bell was generous and giving of herself and of her time.
She shared the Word and her wisdom. In the early years of her children’s lives, May Bell taught them to respect themselves first and to always respect other people. She explained that that would carry each of them further in life than riches of the world ever could. With class and dignity, May Bell traveled near and far.
May Bell lived. She has touched the lives and the hearts of many along her journey. May Bell will be missed by her loving family and friends. Though absent from this body, she is present with the Lord.
May Bell was preceded in death by her parents, Annie Mae and Luther Marshall Bethea, two brothers Daniel and David Bethea and a sister, Mary Frances Leslie.
She leaves to cherish her loving memory two daughters, Brenda Wright of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Angela Couser of Jersey City, N.J.; one son, Brice Couser Sr. of Jersey City, N.J.; nine grandchildren, Raymond Jr., Richard, and Rachael Wright, all of Raleigh, N.C., Joshua, Briana and Brice Couser Jr., all of Newport News, Va., Deanna and Brittney Couser, both of Jersey City, N.J., Tyrell Ford of Pennsylvania; four great-grandchildren, Jayden Woodson of Jersey City, N.J., Ne-leh C. Wright of Raleigh, N.C., LeGazeii Abdullah of Newport News, Va. and Dennice Ford of Pennsylvania; two sons-in-law, Raymond Wright Sr. and Michael Pittman; a sister, Golda Bethea of Eadenton, N.C., two sisters-in-law, Lourdeen Bethea and Yvonne Bethea; one brother-in-law, Luther Leslie; special bonds with Mildred Williams, Yvonne Bethea and Natasha “MoMo” Oliver; and a host of loving nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.