|Alice Erma Bell and William Boyd Barrett|
"For family is what you wish would go away and leave you alone, and what you miss when they do." On A Clear Day
Memoirs from the pen of Alice Bell Barrett 1992
Ellwood City Ledger
Alice Bell Barrett
Alice Bell Barrett died peacefully in her sleep at the Shenango Presbyterian Senior Care Center on December 27, 2007, at 8:15 p.m. She had lived an active life for 97 years. She was born on June 19, 1910, on Bellvern, the family farm in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. As did her six older siblings, she helped with many of the farm chores. She milked cows and when electricity came to the farm she became adept at using automatic milkers. She especially liked hitching a draft horse and plowing a field or cultivating corn. Her favorite horse was Bird who pulled the family carriage, which at an early age she was allowed to drive. She recalled that Christmas was celebrated, but not elaborately. A banana or an orange was a special treat to find in the Christmas stocking. Her parents, who were among the few to attend college in the late 1880's and were committed to education, typically gave each child a book or two. Clothing was also a common gift, and usually handmade. Christmas day and Sundays were days for worship and rest, except for milking cows. The family made ice cream on special occasions, both in the winter and summer. The ice would come from the creek on the farm. It was stored in an underground chamber and covered with sawdust. As a child she rode on horseback to a one-room school. She graduated from Wilmington High School as valedictorian in 1927. She followed her six siblings to college and graduated from Westminster College, again at the top of her class, in 1930. She also attended the University of Iowa. She always felt fortunate that at the beginning of the depression she found a job teaching math in Ellwood City, PA, where she lived until 1990. She taught until her marriage on June 19, 1939, to the late W. Boyd Barrett, who preceded her in death on August 12, 1982. In later years she often substituted, and she assisted her husband in his insurance business. In the summer of 1932 she drove to California with a friend at a time when roads were primitive and in the deserts non-existent. She recalled refueling at one small town in the Mojave Desert and asking directions about the road to Barstow. The gas station attendant pointed in the dirt path and said there was no road; they should just follow the tire tracks. Twice more in the 1930's she drove to the west coast including Seattle and Tijuana. Later, with her husband, she traveled to all 50 states, the Canadian provinces, and 30 countries on six continents. One Sunday morning in 1964, while standing on a scaffold overlooking the Berlin Wall into East Berlin, the church bells rang in West Berlin. Her son, Bill, said: "Mother, you're missing church, probably for the first time in your life." "That's ok", she replied. "I'm seeing a more powerful sermon than I could ever hear". In addition to great faith she had a sense of humor. On a trip with her grandson Jonathan they were served lake trout for dinner, complete with the head. When the meal was finished, they placed the severed fish heads under the overturned coffee cups of the adjacent table. They often wondered with laughter at the reaction of the diners who found them. The Presbyterian Church was central in her life, starting with Unity Church in Mercer County. She was a member of the Calvin Presbyterian Church in Ellwood City, serving as a Sunday School teacher until she was 90, and as deacon and elder. She was active in the Shenango Presbytery and was a delegate to two national synods of the Presbyterian Church. She was especially supportive of the church's foreign missionaries. She served the Ellwood City Hospital as a member of the Hospital Auxiliary and as a trustee of the hospital. In 1962, with her husband and others, she helped organize Ellwood City's Meals on Wheels, which continues to serve the community. She was active in Eastern Star, the Garden Guild, and the Women's Club. In 1988, she was recognized in Ellwood City with the Distinguished Service Award, which her husband had received ten years earlier. She also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Westminster College in 1988. She played basketball in her youth and golfed into her 90s. In her retirement years, she relished winters in Sun City, Arizona, where she could continue to play golf. In 1990 she moved from Ellwood City to New Wilmington, where she enjoyed living and socializing first at Beechwood Commons and since 2002 at Shenango-on-the-Green. She was at ease with all types of people from villagers in foreign missions to the President Lyndon Johnson and the Queen of England. She wrote an autobiography called "On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever." She is survived by her sons, Larry Barrett of Colorado Springs, CO, and William Barrett of Dover, MA. She was proud of her six grandchildren: Christina Barrett Robida of Natick, MA; Elizabeth Barrett Gardner, Billerica, MA; Jonathan W. Barrett of Tigard, OR; Brooks Barrett of South Boston, MA; Curtis Barrett of Chicago, IL, and Allison Barrett Carelli of Boston. She was overjoyed by her one great-grandson, Davis Gardner. A service will be held Monday, December 31, 2007, at 11 a.m. in the New Wilmington Presbyterian Church, South Market Street, New Wilmington, Pa. Visitation will be held Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. in the SMITH FUNERAL HOME, 310 West Neshannock Ave., New Wilmington, Pa. Memorials may be made to the Shenango Presbyterian SeniorCare, 238 South Market St., New Wilmington, PA 16142.
Alice Bell Barrett
on her 95th birthday
The William Bell Family Tree is a collection of information gathered by
Eric & Liz Davis,
Mary Eleanor Bell,
and Alice Erma Bell.
This HTML version was iniated in 1998 by Eric and Elizabeth Fisher-Davis.
Tree outline of Bell Generations