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In Memory of . . . Jeanne "Holly" Bell (1930-2016)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Rev. Jeanne “Holly” (Millett) Bell died on January 22, 2016 at the age of 85.


She was born on December 9, 1930 to Robert N. and Leonora (Mann) Millett. Holly received a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College in 1951, and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary in 1973, along with the Stevens-Gesner Project.


Rev. Bell was ordained to the ministry in 1973 by the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Greenfield, MA. From 1973 to 1974, she served as Chaplain to the Franklin County Public Hospital of Greenfield, MA. In 1974; she was called to serve as minister to Unity Church of North Easton, MA, and she held that position for the next 25 years. Upon her retirement from the ministry in 1999, she was voted Minister Emerita of Unity Church


Prior to entering ministerial fellowship, Holly served as Director of Religious Education to the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Greenfield, MA, from 1956 to 1970.  She was passionate about religious education, and held membership with the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA).


Rev. Bell served the denomination in various capacities. She volunteered with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Interdistrict Committee for Connecticut Valley, Metro New York and Joseph Priestley; the UUA Interdistrict Committee for New England; and the Ballou Channing District of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA). Additionally, she served as a UUA Ministerial Settlement Representative and a UUA representative to the National Council of Churches Commission on Women in Ministry.


Holly was deeply connected to nature, and enjoyed hiking, camping, canoeing, birdwatching, and gardening. She was a dog lover and an avid reader, and spent many summers at Star Island Family Conference and Retreat Center and Rowe Camp and Conference Center.


In addition to the outdoors, Holly enjoyed cooking, crafting and baking. She retired in 1999 to spend more time with her children and grandchildren, and they remember her lovingly. Holly’s children described their mother as a vocal advocate and protestor for fair and equitable treatment.


She is survived by her loving children, Peter M. Bell (Mary); Rebecca H. “Becky” Bell (Edward Green); and Elizabeth M. “Libby” Kellard (Robert); and adoring grandchildren, Emily Bell Springett (Doyle); Christopher H. Bell; Meghan E. Kellard; and Alyssa M. Kellard.  Holly was predeceased by her son Marc A. Bell, as well as by her sister Cheryl Herman.  She was the spouse of the late Hubert W. Bell and the late Gerald C. Bailey.


A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the Congregational Unitarian Society of Bernardston, 46 Church St., Bernardston, MA.  A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.


In lieu of flowers, you are invited to honor the life and service of Rev. Jeanne “Holly” Bell with a memorial donation to the Unitarian Universalist Association. Please make checks payable to “Friends of the UUA” and mail to: Unitarian Universalist Association, Attention: Gift Processing, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210. Donations may be made online at:


Condolences may be sent to Rebecca Bell, 1603 Tina Lane, Castleton, NY 12033. 

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