Her Grace – our dear ma

by Shea Bell
The Bell Family

Verna Eleanor Bell (Jantzen)

June 1930 – June 2023

Nobody realized on that sunny Friday in June 1930 that before them was more than just a beautiful brown eyed girl; an angel had just been born to Netty and John Jantzen.

Their first home was a chicken farm in Abbotsford, where Verna had the daily pleasure of riling up the chickens when it was time to gather eggs in the morning. Her cow Betsy was her first love, but her family, which came to include a younger sister (Ruby Dolores), was the centre of her universe. 

The family moved to Burnaby when Verna was nine, and what a transition. From the freedom of farm life she had to adjust to big city living. In the classroom she was a good student but was often scolded for sketching in the margins of her notebook. With all that practice it was no surprise she went on to become a talented water colour artist. Her art studio was open anytime to the grandkids, no restrictions.

Verna and Ken’s own lucky kids, Brian, Sharon, and Donna went on to marry and produce 7 grand kids and 7 great grand kids. And that doesn’t count how many of her kids’ friends and their families they adopted along the way. 

The Bell nook was a gathering place for lively chatter (sometimes irreverent), a good bowl of soup, and endless cups of coffee. Verna took it all in quietly, with a grin, offering no advice or judgement. Listening was one of her gifts.

Over the course of her life, Verna put her whole self into her family’s wellbeing. Together with Ken, she was endlessly generous with her time and had hearty hugs when needed.

Fast forward 93 years and Verna had gathered a huge fan club. In assisted living, the staff would come to her for advice, and she would happily share her wisdom. She never stopped learning or sharing, and was a bright spark ‘till the end.

Verna left us on June 25, 2023, satisfied with her life and ready to let go of earthly concerns. It was inspirational and astounding to witness, and to be part of.

For us humans her best advice was, “listen, not to prepare a response, but to understand”, then for families, “play with your kids!”.

Goodbye dear Verna.  Your cherished legacy is the unconditional love you so gracefully shared, and we miss it, and you, every day.

ladybug love always

ladybug love for all

If you would like to share your thoughts, some love, or a story, please leave a comment below. It would be much appreciated by the whole family.

By request no flowers please.

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Darlene October 4, 2023 - 11:20 pm

A perfect tribute to your dear mom. She was so lovely and kind to everyone she met.

Shea October 5, 2023 - 5:31 am

Thank you Darlene. The family is adjusting to life without her.  She was much loved.

Sheila Holm Nevison October 5, 2023 - 7:49 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your lovely Mum. How lucky you are to have those wonderful memories….
“Listen, not to prepare a response, but to understand”. …I need to heed these wise words. 💕

Shea Bell October 6, 2023 - 4:27 pm

Hi Sheila, and you were part of many of those wonderful times back when. Thanks for checking in, appreciated. I hope you and all your family are enjoying life!


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