Ethel M. Bell

Fri, 05/06/2022 - 11:45am

Ethel M. Bell passed away at Cove’s Edge in Damariscotta, in the early hours of May 5, 2022 at the age of 95. 

She was born on Aug. 8, 1926, the third child of Ethelyn (Nelson) Knowlton and Allan Cobb Knowlton in Liberty, Maine, where she grew up on the family farm during the Depression and World War II, both of which left deep and lasting impressions on the way she lived her life.  She attended the local schools and then Gorham Normal School (now the University of Southern Maine). Her first teaching position took her to Corinna, Maine, in part because it had a roller-skating rink. There she met Roderic Bell, whom she married on June 27, 1948.

While Rod was attending Husson College, they lived in Bangor, later moving back to Liberty where she also taught school. In 1952 they moved to the Coast, and in 1957, built the house in Wiscasset, which they made home for more than 67 years, raising a family and teaching middle school in Wiscasset, West Bath and Bath until she retired in 1974 and took up full time grand-mothering.  Even though the Coast was home, they always returned to Liberty to the camp they loved on Stevens Pond.  

She loved her students and her students loved her. Even after fifty years, many still recall and mention her love of literature and how every day she would read them a chapter out of a classic book or favorite poems.  In addition, she was an accomplished seamstress and knitter, a voracious reader and crossword puzzle addict until her sight failed in the last years.  She was a member of Wiscasset’s American Legion Auxiliary.

She was predeceased by her husband in 1998; her brother, Nelson Knowlton in WWII; her sister, Christine Hatch this past February; as well as her grandson, Jason Spinney in 1983.

She is survived by her daughter, Nancy Spinney and husband Larry Dean of Southport; her son, Jim and wife Darlene (Atkinson) of Whitefield; grandson, Jeffry and wife Melissa (McClure) of Alna; granddaughter, Jennifer (Spinney) Brennan and husband Henry of Jefferson; granddaughter, Heather Bell of New Orleans; and grandson, Mark Bell and partner Mende Williams of Naples, Florida; as well as great-grandsons, Chase Spinney and Robbie Brennan; and several nephews. 

A graveside service will be held on Monday, May 9 at 11 a.m., at the Greenlawn Cemetery, 95 Rumerill Road, Wiscasset. Any remembrances should be sent to the Jason Spinney Memorial Fund, in care of the Boothbay Region Student Aid Fund, P.O. Box 293, Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538; or the charity of your choice. 

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543.  Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: