Josephine Rose Anderson Bell died October 25, 2015 of natural causes.Jo was born in Trenton, NJ on April 6, 1925 to Dewey Arthur Anderson and Corinne Lambour Anderson and named for both of her grandmothers. Jo’s father was of Norwegian descent from Porter, MN and her mother of Alsatian descent from Nicktown, PA.Jo and her older brother, David, and younger brother, Tom, were reared in the Great Depression in New England. She fondly recalled ice skating in Cunningham Park across from their home in Milton, MA, and attending camp on Cape Cod. Her happiest memories were of a time she lived with her maternal grandparents in Nicktown, their rural western Pennsylvania community named for her great-grandfather. There she enjoyed a large, extended Catholic family including her second cousin, her life-long closest friend, who later became Fr. Joel Lieb, Order of St. Benedict.After high school Jo worked for the Federal Reserve in Boston. Turning 18 in the midst of WWII she enrolled in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps and began nurse’s training at Quincy City Hospital. During her training she was assigned to Bellevue Hospital in NYC, where she contracted TB. Returning home to recuperate she spent months reading the classics and began her life-long habit of writing letters to newspaper editors.Following the war Jo worked as a nurse at the Stoneleigh-Prospect Hill School in Greenfield, MA where she especially enjoyed chaperoning the young women students on skiing trips.In the summer of 1948 she arrived by train in subtropical Durham, NC, where she became the nurse for nursing students at Duke University. At a Labor Day dance at the Washington Duke Hotel, Jo met a charming young medical resident with a soft Georgia accent. Jo and Ira E. Bell, Jr. were wed in January 1949 at Duke Chapel, where Jo loved singing in the choir. In 1950 they welcomed their firstborn, Ira III (Chip).After completing his residency Ira was invited to join a radiology practice in Morganton, NC and there they fell in love with the southern Appalachian mountains. They were soon joined by two more sons, Tom and John. Moving the practice and their home to Hickory, NC, Jo rounded out the decade with a baby girl, Laura. Jo nurtured each child and numerous friends with loving attentiveness, with the help of Ms. Barbara Wilson, at their home on Sixth Street, N.W. Jo was an active volunteer in numerous organizations, especially the First United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and most happily, served as nurse for many summer camp sessions.While her children attended school, Jo began taking classes at Lenoir Rhyne College and graduated first in her class with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. After graduation she taught in the same nursing program and a few years later helped establish the first hospice in Catawba County, where she served as Nursing Director.In the 1980’s Jo and Ira divorced and Jo moved to Chapel Hill, NC where she happily began a new, independent life as a dedicated UNC Hospital volunteer and active grandmother. After her family, Jo’s greatest pleasure was going to The Chautauqua Institute in upstate NY, where for more than twenty summers she enjoyed scholarly lectures, the symphony, the natural beauty, and the warm camaraderie of abundant interesting friends. Jo will be remembered for a quiet elegance, keen intuition, deep philosophical and religious leanings, innumerable acts of generosity and kindness, an amazing gregariousness toward strangers, and her devotion to the New York Times.Jo is survived by her children: Chip (Susie) of Asheville; Tom (Mary Margaret Patton) of Hickory; John (Judy Whisnant) of Chapel Hill; Laura Bell Smith of Richmond, VA; grandchildren Adrienne (Isaac Savage) and Erica of Asheville; Savannah Bell, Taylor Bell and Ashley Collins (Desmond Bennett) of Greensboro; Nathan Bell of Chapel Hill and Lucy Bell of San Francisco; great-grandchildren Isabelle and Everett Savage of Asheville; Emma Bennett of Greensboro; brother Tom Anderson (Sherry Niswander) of Stanwood, WA; sister-in-law Nancy Anderson of Cedar Hill, TX; brother-in-law Howlett Irvin of Alpharetta, GA; sister-in-law Doris Bell of Athens, GA; special cousin Danny Lieb of Pittsburgh; fourteen nieces and nephews; and friends too numerous to number. Jo’s spirit will live on in the lives of all those whom she loved and who loved her.A celebration of Jo’s life will be held at Carol Woods Retirement Community, 750 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, on Sunday, November 22 at 2:00 pm. In a final act of selflessness Jo bequeathed her body to UNC School of Medicine; therefore her ashes will be interred at a later date at St. Nicholas Church, Nicktown, PA. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Send a Kid to Camp Fund at the Triangle Community Foundation (wwwtrianglecf.org
) or Catawba Regional Hospice (www.catawbaregionalhospice.org
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). Condolences can be sent to the Bell Family, 317 Barclay Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.