Betty "Betty" (Flanigan) Bell , VRHS Class of 1938

ROCHESTER -- Elizabeth "Betty" Bell, 99, passed away peacefully on January 11, 2021, in Churchville, N.Y. where she has resided with her loving daughter Teri and son-in law Cavan for the past eight years.

Betty was born on September 14, 1921, in Albany the daughter of John J. Flanigan and Estelle Anna Gertrude McCabe Flanigan. She lived the first 90 years of her life in Rensselaer across the street from St. Joseph's Church where she remained an active parishioner until it closed. Betty graduated from Van Rensselaer High School in 1938 and The College of Saint Rose in 1942. Following graduation, she launched a teaching career at Willsboro High School and then in West Albany. She married her high school and life-long sweetheart, Edward J. Bell in October 1945. After Ed's return from four years at sea during World War II, he and Betty devoted the next 25 plus years to raising their six children in Rensselaer. When her youngest child, Teri, started kindergarten, Betty returned to her teaching for several years at St. Joseph's School in Rensselaer. She then embarked on a new career field, earning her master's degree in library science at SUNY Albany and accepting a position in the library there. Having distinguished herself at SUNYA's main library, she was promoted to library director at their downtown Hawley Library branch. Betty then accepted a position at the N.Y.S. Dept. of Health library in Albany, and followed that by serving as library director for the N.Y.S. Dept. of Labor library. Her love of libraries prompted her, after retiring officially, to joyously accept a part-time position at her beloved alma mater, The College of Saint Rose, as an evening reference librarian.

In addition to her parents, Betty was predeceased by her beloved husband of over 50 years Ed; and by her only sibling, Thomas J. Flanigan. Betty is survived by four sons and two daughters and their partners including: John E. (Mary Ellen) Bell, Edward W. (Dolores) Bell, Mary Elizabeth Bell (Ed Rivenburgh), Thomas J. (Wendy) Bell, Joseph R. (Becky) Bell, and Theresa A. (Cavan) Kelsey. Betty treasured her eight grandchildren and their spouses including: Ryan Bell, Joseph Bell, Catherine Bell, Emily Bell, Farrell Bell and husband Mike McFarland, Edward Bell, Ian Kelsey and his wife Emily, and Justin Kelsey and his wife Stephanie. Betty also leaves behind one great--grandchild, Robert, who has never ceased to bring a smile to her face, and numerous nieces, nephews, step-grandchildren and step-great--grandchildren. Betty's love for her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was the central tenet of her life. Although Betty grew up during the depression and experienced the war years worrying about a husband facing perilous duty at sea and a brother flying hazardous missions as a pilot in the Army Air Corps, she loved life to the fullest and was always a bulwark of kindness and generosity, never ceasing to put the welfare of others before her own. Her laughter could light up any gathering and she and her husband, Ed, worked tirelessly to provide a truly wonderful childhood for their family. Adventures filled the years as Betty learned to love camping in the great outdoors, visiting the St. Lawrence River, Maine, the Outer Banks, Florida, the Rocky Mountains and so many other fun places. She also dearly loved spending summers at the camp at Burden Lake. In the last 20 years of her life, she treasured vacationing with her sons and daughters, making periodic treks to Cape Cod, New England, Florida and South Carolina as well as cruises to Bermuda and the Caribbean. As a mother and friend, she was always there in the evening to help with homework and to tackle every issue that life presented with patience, integrity, intelligence and love, always with love. She will be missed more than simple words could ever possibly express. Betty was a life force and inspired others with her strength, faith, and courage. In exchange for the love she shared so freely, she will be loved, loved, loved far into the future.

A brief one hour viewing and short private service will be managed at the W.J. Lyons Jr. Funeral Home, 1700 Washington Ave., Rensselaer, beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, January 18, followed by burial in Blooming Grove Cemetery according to the current COVID-19 protocols. Please feel free to join the proceedings virtually starting at 9:30 a.m. using the following Zoom link: 86005129984?pwd=eEdZT mpwVUpsUFVDbnluUWV LZGd5dz09. In lieu of flowers, based on Betty's love for children and fondness for animals, any donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands are appreciated.

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