Honoring Thaddeus John Bell II

It has been too painful to mention my son, but his memory is never very far away from me. The years since his death often leave me empty and wondering what kind of man would he have been if God's plan was different.

Even today, in 2010 people still come up and say what a fine young man he was. Many of his friends who have their own families remember Thad with very fond memories. Since his death, I have only been once to the site of his burial because still it is too painful.

In many ways, he still lives in my heart and I know in the heart of his mother, sisters and many friends. Thad passed away before three of his grandparents, all of whom have since passed away. His death was a tremendous burden on them. David Edwards, a very good friend and on the advisory board, suggested that I say something about Thad because as David said, “It is time that we mention him.”

Thad passed away 19 years ago at the age of 21 from a “blood clot” pulmonary embolism. He developed it after breaking his leg while playing basketball the game he loved.

Thad was an average sort of guy with a big heart. He graduated from his dream school Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a quiet kind of fellow until around family and friends; then his wonderful personality would abound. He loved his family, his grandparents, rap music, basketball, and his friends. At the time of his demise, he had a special lady in his life that we all grew to love. His plans were to go into criminal justice. We talked about law school. Like most young people, he looked forward to venturing into the mysteries of life when “God’s will went into effect.” We were devastated. We are somewhat healed now but never completely. It is indeed true that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

In Thad’s memory, we have established a scholarship to Morehouse College that has already helped several young men. The scholarship is in Charleston, South Carolina at the Coastal Community Foundation for young men like Thad who want to go to Morehouse College. The scholarship has helped and continues to help young black men fulfill their educational dreams.

The Closing the Gap Fitness Seminar, an event to promote fitness and health, education and community service for young people is done every year in honor of Thaddeus John Bell II “A Morehouse Man.” Thad's sisters, Tonisha and Tiffany, continue to run the festival in his memory. Tiffany has a son, Kaidlyn Thaddeus Snipe named in honor of me and her brother. Tonisha has a daughter named Julia. Both children look a lot like their Uncle Thaddeus. Our lives are richer because he is still a part of us.

God Bless You, Thad.


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