Marie Christine Bell, known to all as "Ma Bell", 84, Bethlehem, N.H., passed away at home on Dec. 28, 2012, surrounded by her loving family. Born in Bridgeport, Conn., on Oct. 7, 1928, she was the daughter of Wesley and Christine Stanton. Marie lived in Newtown, Conn., until 1971 when she moved to Bethlehem.
Much of Marie's life was devoted to community service starting as a police woman in Newtown, Conn., then continuing to work in security at the Mt. Washington Hotel. She also served as a volunteer for the local Civil Air Patrol. Area children will remember her as Mrs. Peter Rabbit at the annual Easter Egg Hunt in Bethlehem. Most recently "Ma Bell" took great pride in manning the desk and welcoming customers with her ever present smile at Beech Hill Auto, the family business.
Marie was an avid gardener and lover of nature. All God's creatures she embraced as her own and they appeared as subjects in all of her artwork. Her example became the inspiration for the entire family who became passionate lovers of art and nature.
"Ma" opened her heart and home to everyone making all who knew her feel like they were family. She will be deeply missed.
Marie is survived by her beloved husband, Philip T. Bell; and her seven children: Linda Lee and her husband, Jim Lee, Christine Curran and her husband Jerry Fanning, Bonnie Nezvesky, Deborah Starbuck, Wendy Miller, Philip W. "Jumper" Bell and his wife Lynda Martin and Marie "Tinker" Stevenson and her husband Scott Stevenson. Marie is also survived by 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at the Durrell United Methodist Church on Main Street in Bethlehem, N.H., at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Burial will be in the Maple Street Cemetery in the spring.
Arrangements and care have been entrusted to the Pillsbury Phaneuf Funeral Home and Crematorium. To send a message of condolence, please visit our website at www.pillsburyphaneuf.com.