At the age of 108 ½, Mildred Nicholson Bell peacefully bid adieu to the world last week. Born on July 31, 1906 in Pitman, NJ she proudly described herself as a “Pitmanite through and through.”
Mildred passed away with wonderful memories of Pitman. She enjoyed her childhood fully and also attended the annual New Year’s Day Mummer Parade in nearby Philadelphia and Missionary Society functions. Her family belonged to the local Baptist church.
Mildred married Ralph in 1928 and blessed with a son and a daughter. They became active members of the Pitman United Methodist Church. Later, Mildred joined the Order of the Eastern Star Pitman Chapter #57. For the most part, Mildred was a stay-at-home mom and an active volunteer.
Everyone at Pitman Manor, her home from 2004 until last week, agreed that Mildred was one of the most positive people they had ever met. With an optimistic outlook and cheerful disposition, she cherished every day. Mildred loved all her friends at Pitman Manor, participating in all the activities and indulging in crocheting, knitting and playing cards.
Pitman Mayor Russ Johnson declared July 31, 2012 as “Mildred Bell Day” in the borough, as her 106th birthday present. Moreover, the Gloucester County Freeholders sent a letter to Pitman Manor to the day in her honor throughout the Gloucester County as well. Her name and birthday greeting graced the marquis of the Broadway Theater in Pitman. The following year, the Order of the Eastern Star Pitman Chapter #57 gave Mildred the Golden Token, an 85 years of service pin — the first of its kind in New Jersey and most likely within the entire Eastern Star.
Several years ago, Rev. Dr. Lanie B. Price, former pastor of the Pitman United Methodist Church recalled, “One day while visiting her at Pitman Manor she said to me, ‘You know pastor, this is the best decision we ever made. A friend I went to kindergarten with moved in last month. We’ve been having the best time together, walking in the halls, going down to dinner together. Where else could I have found this atmosphere?’ ” I said to her, “Mrs. Bell, I don’t know anywhere else you could walk down the halls and eat with your friend from kindergarten, especially at 103!”
Mildred lived with her daughter-in-law, seven great grandchildren, four grandchildren and three great great-grandchildren. She is already greatly missed by associates, residents and friends of Pitman Manor.
United Methodist Homes Pitman Manor is more than an assisted living community. Our outstanding team of care givers and our residents are a tight knit family and recipients of the Courier-Post Reader’s Choice 2014 Best Assisted Living Community in South Jersey. To find out more about Pitman Manor visit us at http://www.pitman-manor.umh-nj.org.