Mary Fischer Bell's long and full life ended peacefully on May 8, 2001. Born Mary Agatha Fischer in Newark, NJ on June 25, 1912, she grew up in the Bronx, attended St. Athanasius School, and graduated from Ursuline Academy. Mary earned a B.A. in History from the College of New Rochelle in 1934. She was married to the late Ralph Herbert Bell from July 16, 1943, until his death on June 4, 1995.
Mary had a brief but memorable career as a fifth grade teacher at Epiphany School in the early 1960's, but her true life's work outside of the home was volunteer service to others. Mary was devoted to her alma mater. On June 7, 1969, she was awarded the Ursula Laurus Citation by the College of New Rochell e honoring alumnae who have provided outstanding leadership and have demonstrated selfless and generous devotion in furthering high ideals and rich traditions of Ursuline education.
On June 2, 1979, Mary received the highest award given by the College of New Rochelle, the Angela Merici Medal. She is responsible, along with her late husband, for a scholarship fund at the College, and for the Ralph H. Bell Reading Room in the new College library. She served as the Class of 1934, fund agent for over twenty years and was a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Alumnae Association. Mary was an active leader in Epiphany Parish for over fifty years. When, in 1964, the church building was destroyed by fire, she helped raise funds to build the present church.
She was a Trustee of the Parish for four years. Mary was a founding Board member and the first chairperson of the Board of FISH (Friends in Service to the Housebound) at Epiphany Parish. She gave tirelessly to this effort for many years and helped bring comfort, sustenance, and companionship to countless housebound people.
The March of Dimes, American Association o f University Women and the Ladies of Charity were among the other causes to which she gave of herself. Among other recognitions of her devoted service, Mary received the New York Archdiocesan Silver Cross and Thanks Badge, the highest honor bestowed by the Girl Scouts of America.
Mary was an aunt to thirty-nine nieces and nephews and followed their lives and the lives of their children closely. Mary' s interest in others extended to families of her children's spouses, and friends of her family members. Numerous photographs of children adorned a large bulletin board next to her telephone. Birthdays, Easter, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, wedding anniversaries, Mother's Day and Father's Day all saw scores of delivery vehicles across the country deliver beautiful floral arrangements sent by Mary.
While in her seventies, Mary lost her Book of Life in which she had collected names, addresses, birthdays, and anniversary dates. She tirelessly reconstructed her book, concerned that she might miss an occasion to pass along her love and greetings. Other instances of her generosity, both to groups and individuals are too numerous to recount.
Mary Fischer Bell was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph H. Bell, her parents, William Fischer and Katherine Towey Fischer, he r brother William Fischer, Jr. and her sister Patricia Fischer Weber. She is survived by her three daughters, Elizabeth Bell LeVaca, Katherine M. Bell, Roberta Bell Williamson, her sons - in - law, Joseph LeVaca, Thomas Blackburn and Bruce Williamson, Jr., and her four grandchildren, Christopher Eric Fuhrman and his wife Jean Flores Fuhrman, Jennifer Anne Fuhrman, Erin Mary Williamson, and Sarah Elizabeth Williamson.
Mary is also survived by her brother, John Fischer and his wife Eleanor Fischer, and her sisters, Kathryn Moseley Davis and her husband Lou Davis, Helen Fischer, Joan Fischer Popylisen and her husband Daniel Popylisen, and Claire Fischer Adiletta and her husband Joseph Adiletta, and by her nieces, nephews, grandnieces and nephews and friends.
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