Isabelle M. Bell

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Isabelle M. Bell, 89, died Nov. 25, 2017, at Sunnyside Presbyterian Home near Harrisonburg, Va.

She was born Isabelle Allison Mottesheard May 7, 1928, in Roanoke, Va., to Charles and Virginia Sarah Allison Mottesheard. She grew up in Radford, Va., and graduated from Radford College with a bachelor of arts degree in education, majoring in English and minoring in German and history.

While at Radford, Va., she was president of German Dance Club, vice-president of the Honor Council, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, and a student representative on the Radford Review. She also worked as a reporter for the Radford News Journal and her poetry was published in the 1946 edition of The Annual Anthology of College Poetry. She was named an outstanding senior of her 1949 graduating class. Following graduation, she taught English at Pulaski High School.

In 1950, she married Francis Bell Jr. (IV) of Dublin, Va., who preceded her in death in 2007.
Isabelle was an avid reader with a lifelong interest in history. She wrote several books, including The Bells of the Valleys of Virginia, a history of the Francis Bell line, which was published in 2003 by Pocahontas Press. She was a family historian for the Bell, Allison, Mottesheard, and Keadle families.

She was talented in the art of needlepoint and turned many photographs into needlework pictures, including the Virginia Tech duck pond and Dayton’s Fort Harrison.
She was a founding member of the board of Fort Harrison and served many years working toward the restoration of the Daniel Harrison House. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church and of Massanutton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She served on the board of Massanutten Regional Library during the planning and construction of Harrisonburg’s new library.

Her most important role in life, however, was as a wife, mother and grandmother.

“Belle,” as she was affectionately known to her family, is survived by three children, Martha Bell Graham (Mark), Elizabeth “Libby” Bell Stevens (Gene), and Francis “Frank” Bell V. (Brenda). She is also survived by 11 grandchildren: Ethan Graham (Kim), Allison Graham Mizer (Adam), Francis “Tripp” Bell VI (Rachel), Sarah Stevens, Aaron Graham (Becca Liu), Jim Stevens (Sarah Whelchel), Currie Bell (Anna), David Stevens, Kent Graham (Jennifer), Virginia “Ginny” Stevens, and Christopher Bell, as well as 7 great-grandchildren: Connor, Maria and Brigid Graham, Sam and Ava Mizer, Ethan Bell, and Mei Isabelle Liu-Graham.
She is also survived by three sisters-in-law, Ellen Campbell, Joanne Bell and Christine Mottesheard, and by one nephew, Dick Campbell and his family, as well as many cousins.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her brother C.W. Mottesheard; her nephew, Burke Mottesheard, and her brother-in-law, Daniel C. Bell.
The family acknowledges with deep appreciation Patsy Dove and Clara Baldwin for their long and faithful friendship with “Belle.” They also thank Sunnyside’s health care staff and nurses for their kind and compassionate care.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, Va. Later that day, at 3:30 p.m., a service of committal will be held at New Dublin Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Massanutten Regional Library, 174 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA, 22801, or to Burke Mottesheard Criminal Justice Scholarship at New River Community College in Dublin, 5251 St. Rd. 373, Dublin, VA, 24084.
Condolences may be shared at www.kygers.com.

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