Mary Margaret Bell
June 2, 1928 - September 15, 2017
Graveside Services for Mary Margaret Bell, 89, a long-time resident of Hereford will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday September 18, 2017 at West Park Cemetery and Funeral Services will be at 2:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church with the Reverend Kevin Deckard, pastor of Polk Street United Methodist Church of Amarillo, officiating. Services are under the personal supervision of Parkside Chapel Funeral Home. Mrs. Bell passed away Friday, September 15, 2017, after a long and productive life. Family will be receiving friends Sunday, September 17, 2017 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Parkside Chapel.
She was born on June 2, 1928 to Gladys and Tom Lair, in Canyon, Texas and childhood memories of her early life included adventures on the family dairy farm on VFW Road where she grew up with her five brothers, George, A.W., Tommy, James, and Stanley. After sharing recognition with her brother James as ‘Mr. and Miss Canyon High School’, Margaret went on to receive both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from West Texas State University in Canyon. WTU bestowed degrees on innumerable family members, from her father to her daughter, Becky Williams, and is the place she met her future husband, Charlie Bell, of Plainview/Hale Center, Texas.
Margaret and Charles Bell were married on August 24, 1949, at the First Methodist Church in Canyon, Texas. They once counted 31 houses they had lived in, while they pursued the good life as public school teachers, Becky was born when Charlie was the band director in Panhandle, Sara was born when he taught in Fort Stockton, Kathi is the “Cisco Kid”, and David is a native Herefordite.
She and her family moved to Hereford in 1956 when Charlie became the high school band director, Margaret often remarked that she was lucky to be loved by so many good people, including the many students who were fortunate enough to have her for a teacher. She taught every grade but 2nd and 3rd. In Hereford, her teaching career included starting a private Pre-K with her dear friend, Wilma Baugous, and later teaching at Shirley and Central Elementary Schools, and La Plata Jr. High. She retired in 1983 after acting as chairman of the HHS English Dept. for 15 years. Her many teaching honors included the TSTA Deaf Smith County Teacher of the Year in 1974 and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association Retired Teach of the Year in 1984. “Dignity for the individual” was a major aim of her teaching.
In Hereford, Margaret made friends in many circles. She was active in the United Methodist Church, teaching the Open Door Sunday School class for 62 years, and serving her church community in every way humanly possible. She and Charlie were both avid bridge players, playing 3 nights a week with different groups and she continued to play regularly until last year. Margaret was the founding President of the Hereford Pilot Club, Worthy Matron and secretary of Eastern Star. DAR treasurer, Bayview Study Club President, Delta Kappa Gamma member, and Hereford Retired Teachers member. She was awarded the much coveted Golden Bull Chip award in 1988 because of her leadership roles such as chairman of the United Way Campaign and board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she was also a much-loved Big Sister for four years.
Margaret’s favorite hobby after retiring was giving book reviews around the area including such favorites as The Worst Hard Times and Cleopatra. She enjoyed daily crossword puzzles and read voraciously. She relished playing games of all kinds, telling jokes, and sharing meals with her friends and family. Three principles that guided her life were: 1. God is good, 2. Follow the Golden Rule, 3. There’s not a reason in this world not to be kind. She was accepting, intelligent, kind, funny, full of life and appetite, sweet-toothed and lion-hearted.
Margaret is survived by her four children, Becky Williams of Hereford, Sara Belknap and husband David of Austin, Kathi Lee and husband Don of Canyon, and David Bell and wife Susan of Austin; eight grandchildren, Jason Williams, Matt Williams, Ben Belknap, Katie Belknap, Tucker Lee, Hunter Lee, Zoe Bell, and Charlie Bell; five great grandchildren, Jake, Charlie, Tessa, Elle, and Corina; one brother, James Lair of Amarillo; and many nieces and nephews.
Margaret’s dry wit, steady and kind sensibilities, and devotion to her family and friends endeared her to many. With her family by her side, she faced her diagnosis of lung cancer with great calm and strength. She never complained and endured her suffering through a strong faith in God. She was easy to love as a daughter, wife, mother, sister, cousin, aunt, grandmother, teacher and friend. She was a woman of character, and her strength, sense of purpose, and grace will remain lasting reminders of why we will miss her so much.
The Family suggest The Family suggests Memorials in Mrs. Bell’s name be made to Kings Manor Handicap Front Door Fund, 400 Ranger St., Hereford, Texas 79045 or First United Methodist Church of Hereford, Building Fund, 501 Main St. Hereford, Texas 79045.