MARQUETTE, MI – Virginia Belle (Hamilton) Bell, 86, of Marquette, passed away on Sunday morning, April 10, 2022, at home under the loving and loving care of her family and UP Home Health and Hospice.
Born December 30, 1935 in Lapeer, Michigan, the daughter of Roy Lee and Margaret Lavina (Rauh) Hamilton, Virginia, was raised on the family farm outside Capac, Michigan. At age 7, Virginia was inspired by her church pastor and a visiting missionary, to consider being called to ministry, a call she would answer later in life. As a youngster, she was her father’s aide and was involved in the work of the 4-H club, later becoming St. Clair County’s. “Dairy Queen” and also won the 1953 title for Michigan State. In addition to this title, she received a scholarship to Michigan State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Education. She married her longtime friend and high school sweetheart, John “Jack” Bell, Sr., on August 28, 1955, in Capac, and had two children. She taught sixth grade in Bancroft, Michigan and special education for the Macomb County Middle School District based in Mt. Clemens. She taught her students life skills including lawn care, home maintenance, auto shop, and cooking. Throughout her teaching years, Virginia worked as a missionary, using her vacations to serve others and spread the Word of God. She made regular trips to Haiti for two weeks at a time from 1981 to 2012. She served in the ministry’s guest house in Les Cayes and hosted a team of medical personnel from Marquette after the 2012 earthquake. She also participated in many other missions in Russia, Poland, Cuba, Liberia and Alaska. After retiring from teaching, Virginia and her husband, Jack, moved east from UP to the Paradise area. Virginia became a certified United Methodist minister serving the community of Paradise and other small communities in God’s Country Cooperative. She was the manager of a store very similar to The New Free Store. Jack and Virginia spent the winters of 2014 and 2015 in Marquette and attended Grace United Methodist Church in 2016. Virginia participated in Grace United Methodist’s Free Store and helped in the kitchen serving soup and sandwiches to shoppers. After the store moved to Harvey, Virginia was still involved in the many food-focused fundraisers The New Free Store has conducted over the years. She also worked at the front desk on shopping days, greeting shoppers, holding babies and puppies, and helping with record keeping. Virginia and her daughter, Jayme, are generous donors and friends of The New Free Store. Virginia also continued to contribute to our community through her quilting and knitting. She was a member of the Messiah Lutheran Church, the Messiah Quilters and the Knotty Knitters. Over the years, Virginia has touched many lives through her hard work, dedication, friendship and guidance. (The preceding information is taken from an article about Virginia in the winter 2022 edition of The New Free Store newsletter).
Virginia is survived by her children, Jayme Bell of Marquette and John (Colleen) Bell of McMillan; his grandchildren, Samantha (John) Feskorn, Jill Plesscer, Joseph Dupius; great-grandchildren, Alley, Kayla (Joey), Brianna, Gabby, Alanah and Emma; and great-great-grandson, Joe.
Virginie was predeceased by her parents; husband, John “Jack” Bell, Sr., in 2017 and her sister, Gertrude.
Friends may call Messiah Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 7, beginning at 11:00 a.m. until service time at 12:00 p.m. A reception will follow at Magnuson Hall. Interment will take place at Paradise Methodist Cemetery at a later date. Submissions may be sent to The New Free Store, 1428 E. M-28, Marquette, MI 49855; Messiah Quilters, 305 W. Magnetic Street, Marquette, MI 49855; God’s Country Cooperative Parish, 110 W. Harrie Street, Newberry, MI 49868, the Marquette City Band, 300 W. Baraga Avenue, Marquette, MI 49855, or UP Home Health and Hospice, 1125 W. Ridge Street, Marquette, MI 49855.
Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services serves the family, where condolences can be expressed online at fassbenderswansonhansen.com.