Dorothy "Jean" Bell passed away on May 9, 2021.
Jean was born on July 26, 1936 to Art Peters and his wife Frances Hansen. In July of 1954 she was married to Neil Bell and they remained married for 60 years.
They are survived by Jean's sister, Bunny Bissonnette; step brother, Brownie (Norma) Holmes and their children Joe (Mary Kay) Bell, Mike (Sheryl) Bell, Linda (Justin) Waters, Donna Bell, and Glen Bell and his partner Barb. Jean also had 14 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. Jean was preceded in death by Neil and her parents; two sisters, Joyce Saunders and Beatty Bernard; an unnamed daughter who died at birth; and grandson, Nate Payne
Jean and Neil raised their family in Hale. Jean worked for Hale Area Schools for 30 years as first a bus driver, then as an office clerk and secretary who also helped supervise the commons area at the high school. She truly loved her work and would have kept working longer if she could have.
Jean was an awesome cook and baker! She made wedding cakes and award winning homemade breads and preserves. She was an avid reader and loved music, also playing accordion and keyboards. Jean loved genealogy and history. She and her sister, Beatty, wrote and published a history of Hale Area Schools. Jean went on to publish two more history books on her own. (Hale and Up the Tracks 1&2) She had at one time over 6,000 historical pictures that she loved to collect.
Jean had a kind and caring heart and loved her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren very much! She and Neil also had over 90 foster children and foreign exchange students in their home over 25 years, and one year were named Foster Parents of the Year for the State of Michigan! They were both born again Christians and very active in the Hale Baptist Church most of their lives helping teach Sunday school, Bible school, driving the bus and working in the nursery. Jean was a lifetime member of the Hale American Legion Auxiliary holding many offices including president.
Jean loved sports and games very much and was extremely competitive! Family poker games were a passion for her, especially in her later years. She was known to frequently try to bluff! She also had a deep passion for fishing, whether it was pan fishing a local lake or hitting the Great Lakes for salmon and walleye. She made several trips to Ontario camping and fishing with family and friends. She even fished in tournaments and occasionally won a little money.
Visitation for Jean will take place to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, at Buresh Funeral Home, 121 South Washington St., Hale. A graveside ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 12, at noon at Esmond Evergreen Cemetery in Hale. Jean's family will visit with family and friends at the cemetery as well Wednesday from 11 a.m. until the time of the ceremony at noon.
The family requests that donations be directed to the Ticket to Dream Foundation or any organization supporting foster families. Online condolences may be offered at www.bureshfuneralhomes.com.