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Mary Kellogg Bell, 100

Mary Kellogg Bell, 100

Mary Kellogg Bell died at the age of 100 on July 11, 2016, at the Carolina Village Medical Center in Hendersonville, NC.

Mary was born on May 4, 1916, in Chamblee, Georgia, where her mother was a teacher and her father was State Insurance Commissioner. She attended the University of GA where she was very active in both academic and extracurricular activities. She was on the Dean’s List and graduated with Honors in 1937, with a degree in Physical Education. Mary worked at several camps before meeting her soon-to-be husband, Joseph O. Bell, Jr. at a camping convention in Western NC. Joe had just started Camp Arrowhead for boys in 1937. They married in 1939 and settled in a home on Lake Summit in Tuxedo, NC. Mary taught school and led numerous improvements in the operations of Camp Arrowhead.

In 1950, with Joe’s encouragement, Mary started Camp Glen Arden for girls in Arden, NC – which became a most successful venture with very loyal alumnae. She was the first woman on the Henderson County Board of Education where she served for 17 years. In this capacity, she successfully addressed the NC State Legislature on behalf of teacher salary raises. Mary also founded and hosted the Outdoor Education Program for all fifth graders in Henderson County, which is still going strong nearly fifty years later. She was a Charter Member of the Henderson County Education Foundation Hall of Fame. She also volunteered extensively at Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville and was recognized several times in the Marquis Who’s Who as a leader in the community and by the Honorable Heath Shuler of North Carolina in the US House of Representatives for a life dedicated to helping others in North Carolina.

In 1972, she moved Camp Glen Arden to Tuxedo and shared the Camp Arrowhead site, where it remained under her ownership for over 30 years. Her husband, Joe, died in 1982 and in 1996, she and the family decided to sell the camps. In 1993, Mary moved to Carolina Village in Hendersonville, where, true to form, she was an active member of the community.

Mary Bell, as she was known to many, exerted a profound and spiritual impact on the lives of hundreds of young people who were strongly influenced by her love of camping and the Blue Ridge Mountains that she cherished. Many girls and women will remember the magical summers at Camp Glen Arden and the wonderful experiences that they will share with each other forever – her persona made the whimsical tales of the Tajar, Madam Witch & the Range Ranger live in the hearts of young girls from around the world.

Mary is survived and loved by her four sons: Joe Bell and his wife, Norma Jo, Ed Bell and his wife, Sinikka, John Bell and his wife, Vicki, and Steve Bell and his wife, Toni; twelve grandchildren; and eleven great-grandchildren.

The service will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested for the Joe and Mary Bell Endowment at Blue Ridge Community College, 180 West Campus Drive, Flat Rock, NC 28731; or the Four Seasons Hospice, 571 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28732.

An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements.