On May 17, 1947 in Columbia, South Carolina, a beautiful baby boy was born to Emanuel and Annie Mae Oglesby Shell. The proud parents named him Willie James Shell. He was the 7th child of 12 children, five brothers and seven sisters.
He received his formal education in Richland County Public Schools. He graduated in 1966 from Bethel High School. He was an outstanding athlete and played half-back on the Bethel High School Tigers football team from 1963-1966. The Bethel Hansberry Alumni Association (BAAHS) honored the Tigers during a special half-time football game in dedication of their new high school.
He returned to school later in life and acquired his Associate Degree in Practical Theology and his Bachelor of Biblical Studies from the Institute for Christian Works Bible College Seminary. He also received his Doctor of Divinity Degree from The International Overcoming College of Religion, James Dussault University. He was a certified Christian Counselor.
On September 30, 1966, he was drafted into the United States Army and after basic training was sent to Vietnam as a Demolition Expert. He served his country in that capacity until September 29, 1968. From October 1968 until September 29, 1972, he was in the Reserves. He received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army on September 29, 1972. He was a Military Demolition Expert and received the following accommodations: National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal w/3 Bronze Service Stars and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He was a member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Free Masonry Modern Free and Accepted Masons of the World, Inc., Progressive Lodge, No. 060 in Columbia, S.C. (July 25, 1985)
After leaving the military, he was employed as a Boiler Operations Manager in Columbia, South Carolina Richland Memorial Hospital and Licensed Fireman for the Department of Labor & Industry in Newark, New Jersey (License #B-71366) in 1972.
The most important job of his life was being a Servant. Accepting Jesus Christ as his Personal Savior and Lord, his life began to change and take on a new meaning. He began to study the Word of God and apply the Word of God to his life. Miracles began to happen for him and he was never the same.
He accepted the Call to preach and was licensed on March 16, 2000. He was licensed as an Ordained Minister on April 20, 2001, and, appointed Elder in November of 2001. He was ordained as a Bishop on March 12, 2013.
He organized and pastured True Light in Christ Jesus Worship Center from May 1, 2008 and retired as full-time pastor when his physical health began to fail him in 2017.
He loved music and played several instruments: drums, guitar, organ and piano.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Emanuel and Annie Mae Shell, his grandmother, Addie Oglesby, a sister, Minnie Stearns, and three brothers: Virgin Emanuel Shell, Jr., Grover Shell, and Richard Jones.
Bishop Shell will always be remembered as a true Servant of God by the way he gave his life to serving others, never taking, but giving. He gave advice, money, food, a place to stay, and counseled hundreds.
He loved clothes and was an expert, extraordinaire dresser, always representing his Father where ever he went.
He married the Love of his Life and soul mate, Dr. Emma M. Shell on November 9, 2012. They shared seven years and seven months before he said “I Love You” for the last time.
He fought a good fight, never leaving his course. He left this earthly life on Saturday, June 27, 2020 and entered his Father’s arms in heaven.
His life of memories will always be remembered by his devoted, loving and caring wife, Emma; daughters: Anastasia Shell of Newark, N.J.; Syranna Davis of Columbia, S,C,; Special and beloved daughter: Kayla Jackson of Lake City, S.C.; Sons: Manuel Howard Shell and Sharod James Hooker, both of North Carolina; Willie Davis of Columbia, S.C.; grand children: Harmony Davis and Genesis Wilson, both of Columbia, S.C.; six other grand children and two great-grands all of North Carolina; Brothers: Freddie Shell, Deacon Rufus Shell (Barbara), James Edward Benson (Manida), and Ernest Dinkins (Myrtle), all of Columbia, S.C.; Sisters: Ola Barnett (Frank) of East Orange, N.J., Euretha Coleman (Tim), Mary Henry, Maude Davis, Addie Branch, and Gloria Diane Shell, all of Columbia, S.C.; one beloved aunt, Lecie Worthy of Columbia, S.C.; Sister-in-laws: Sadie Shell, and Janie Shell, all of Columbia, S.C.; one Brother-in-law: Isaac Mundy, Jr. (Tonia) of Columbia, S.C.; nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and loving relatives, all of whom will share in his transition. He will also be missed by his life time “Bros”: Rodney Egister, Joe Bright, Randall Rozier, and Lance Smith.
To send flowers to Pastor Willie Shell's family, please visit our floral store.