Susan Nan Bell
June 26, 1932 - September 26, 2019
Susan Bell passed away at home on September 26, 2019. She was 87 years old. Born in Ventura, California, she graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara where she married William Lloyd Bell "Bill" in 1954. When he was drafted in 1956, they spent a year in Wurzburg, Germany. Bill passed away in 1996 in Salem.
Sue and Bill moved to Honolulu in 1960 where their three children were born. Sue became involved in Hawaiian history and published a volume of historical articles there. Returning to the Mainland (Salem) after over 20 years in Hawaii, her interest in history expanded to include Oregon and she published a book on early Hawaiians in the Northwest. She was also an instructor at Chemeketa Community College from 1982 until her retirement in 1998.
From 1986 to 1996 she served as editor of the Willamette Valley Genealogical Society’s quarterly journal, the “Beaver Briefs,” and resumed editorship again in 2004, when she was working on compiling seven volumes of historical research for the organization. She later served on the Editorial Board of the Marion County Historical Society and contributed research articles to their publications. Her many articles on Salem’s history for the Public Library can be found on their website. She was a volunteer at the library for many years transcribing old documents to a modern format where they could be electronically cataloged. Sue’s research and publications have contributed a great deal of knowledge to the history of Salem and the genealogy and events of the settlement of the Willamette Valley and the Northwest.
Sue is survived by three great-grandchildren, five grandchildren and three children: Noel Copenhaver of Lowman, Idaho, Steve Bell of Salem and Dianne Rambeau of Salem. She also leaves a sister, Jo-Elle Somersett of Gates, Oregon. Her positive attitude and welcoming of everyone into her home and life was an inspiration. She will be greatly missed.
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