Belma "Nana" Mellette China was born on March 8, 1946, in the Paxville community, a daughter of the late Cleveland Mellette Sr. and Gladys Conyers Mellette.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Minnie Ruth Smith; and two brothers, Arthur Mellette and Cleveland Mellette Jr.

She received her formal education in the public schools of Clarendon County. In her youth, she accepted Christ as her personal Savior and joined Zion Hill Baptist Church, where she was an active and dedicated member and sang with the Chancel Choir. Later, she joined Fourth Crossroad Church under the leadership of Pastor G.K. Carter, where she served on the helping hand ministry, the missionary ministry and the children mentor ministry. With her kind and gentle spirit, she enjoyed helping others in any way she could.

She was employed at Briggs Nursing Home (Windsor Manor) for a number of years, until her health failed.

She was joined into matrimony to Willie China. This union was blessed with eight children.

On Tuesday morning, April 10, 2018, God almighty called his servant, Belma Mellette China, home at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence.

She leaves to cherish her fond and precious memories to her loving husband, Willie China of the home; loving children, Tonie (Sharon) Mellette and Sherlyn Riley, both of Manning, Willie China Jr. (Tiffany) of Texas, and Carolyn (Weldon) China, Jeffrey (Christina) China and Gregory (Betsy) China, all of New York; one sister, Naomi Franklin of Sumter; grandmother, Mrs. Jessie Kelly of Manning; children she reared as her own, Stacey Winn, Stephanie Pugh, Ashley Pugh, Dewayne (Tiffany) Mellette, Precious Heyward, David Farmer, Christopher Mellette, Virginia Conyers, Marion Mellette, Donna Smith, Jacob Heyward, Esau Heyward, Deloris (Stanley) Brunson and Mary Wilder; 25 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; a son-in-law, Dana Pugh; two special sisters-in-law, Judy Mellette of Sanford, North Carolina, and Susan Mellette of Sumter; one uncle, Timothy (Minnie) Pugh of North Carolina; three brothers-in-law, Johnny (Gloria) China, Ricky China and Larry China; five sisters-in-law, Deloris Vaughn, Mary (Joseph) Sumpter, Barbara Conyers, Leslie (Stanley) Brunson and Willie Mae (Raphael); a special caregiver, Wendy Franklin; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by two daughters, Brenda Dell Pugh and Theresa China; one son, Jeremiah Heyward Jr.; and three brothers-in-law, Tommy China, Jay China and Lawson China Jr.

Mrs. China will be placed in the church at 1 p.m. today for viewing until the hour of service.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. today at Salem Chapel & Heritage Center, 101 S. Salem Ave., Sumter, SC 29150 with Pastor G.K. Carter officiating. Interment will follow at Fourth Crossroads Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at her residence, 3551 Paxville Highway, Manning.

Job's Mortuary Inc., 312 S. Main St., Sumter, is in charge of arrangements.

Online memorials may be sent to the family at or visit us on the web at