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Ninabelle Upchurch

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Ninabelle (Artis) Upchurch died on Friday, June 6, at Community Hospital in Springfield. She was 81.

She was born on Oct. 14, 1926, in West Liberty, the third child born to Alvie C. and Hazel Louise (Clark) Artis. She attended school in Logan County, Ohio, and graduated valedictorian of the Monroe Township School in 1944.

Ninabelle married Karl Crosby Upchurch on July 12, 1958, and the two remained married until his death in October 1984. Their marriage was blessed by the births of three children, Marc A. (Sunita) Upchurch, of San Diego, Calif.; Sherri Upchurch Blackwell of Yellow Springs; and Brian L. Upchurch, of Portland, Ore.

Ninabelle was deeply religious and her faith remained vital throughout her life’s journey, despite the heartbreak of illness and debilitation in her later years. She was dealt a crushing blow when her physical condition made it impossible for her to drive, but she continued to fight to get her driver’s license back, right up to the point where her condition worsened and driving became undeniably impossible.

In what proved to be her last days on earth, she continued to speak of God and her faith, and to pray for others and their circumstances, despite her own excruciating pain. A woman of quiet but intense determination, she fought against many odds throughout the course of her life.

Ninabelle was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; her brother, Alva C. Artis Jr.; her grandparents, and many devoted aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

She is survived by her sister, Frances Louise (Artis) Hill of Yellow Springs; her three children, and two grandsons, Brian Douglas and Justin Levi Upchurch, both of San Diego; many loving and supportive cousins in Springfield, Yellow Springs and Bellefontaine, and in Bakersfield, Calif.; and in a whole host of other places throughout the state and country.

Ninabelle has earned her rest from the pain and struggles of this life, and her friends and family shall miss her terribly.

A memorial service in honor of her faith and in celebration of her life will be held on Wednesday, June 18, at 11 a.m., at the First Baptist Church in Yellow Springs with the Rev. Vurn O. Mullins will be officiating.


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