Bertha Lee Bell, formerly of Chesapeake, transitioned into her eternal rest on Christmas Day surrounded by family at her side in Willingboro, N.J. A native of Scotland Neck, N.C., Bertha was born August 31, 1916. Graced with longevity of life, Bertha blessed this earth with over 103 years of age. The daughter of Gus Johnson and Estella Anthony, and widow of Frank Bell, Bertha lived life to the fullest.
Born prior to the Great Depression and deprived of the ability to obtain a formal education, Bertha relied upon her skills and abilities to provide for her family. Working in various fields – from domestic, factory, culinary, and child care – God blessed Bertha’s hands to produce income. Moreover, although Bertha was not able to take advantage of educational opportunities, she strongly stressed education to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. As a result, professionals of various trades (law, medicine, engineering, military, and social services to name a few) were birth from her lineage.
Bertha was very active in life up until this year when her health began to decline. However, prior to this year, Bertha was active in her church, senior citizens day center, and enjoyed attending gospel concerts. Listed among her various hobbies were baking, gardening, canning preserves, making soap, and watching wrestling and westerns. Perhaps her most infamous hobby, however, was quilting, knitting, and crocheting. A pattern expert, Bertha was famous for creating and gifting unique quilts for each of her children and grandchildren, as well as other family and friends. Because she was blessed, she was intentional in being a blessing to others.
Prior to relocating to New Jersey a few years ago, Bertha was a faithful member of Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Christ for over 39 years. She loved her pastor and church family and always treasured her memories with her home church.
Bertha was predeceased by her husband Frank, mom Estella, and father Gus. In addition, Bertha was predeceased by daughter, Willie Etta Williams; brother,Jerry Lee Anthony; and sisters, Blanche “Bay” West,Ethel “Sista” Lee Anthony, and Roxie McKenzie. She leaves to mourn her passing three daughters, Mary B. Bell, Norfolk; Earnestine Johnson (Todd), Willingboro, N.J.; Bettie L. Bell, Norfolk; three grandchildren whom she raised as her own children; Mary V. Jones, Norfolk; Louis “Pop” Williams (Mary), Portsmouth; Curtis Williams (Danielle), Norfolk; other grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and a host of other family and friends.