Elfrieda Doremus Bell, 99, of Frederick, Maryland, passed peacefully from this life on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the Cottages of Spring Arbor in Frederick. After losing her beloved husband Les to illness four years ago, Elfrieda remained matriarch of the sprawling Bell family, a role that defined her life.
Born on August 30, 1924, in Hackensack, NJ, she was the daughter of the late William Ellsworth (El) and Frieda Doremus. Elfrieda was married to Leslie J. Bell for nearly 76 years, earning the title of Longest Married Couple in Frederick County in 2019. And it all started with a wink from across the room in high school band class.
Elfrieda was above all a devoted wife and mother. She and Les are survived by daughters Linda J. Bell of Frederick and Leslie D. Dove of Bluffton, South Carolina, and sons James W. Bell of Largo, Florida and Russell J. Bell of Rockville, Maryland.
She was all about family, especially babies. And the family indulged her with ten grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and most recently, two great-great grands. Mom and Dad happily answered the call many times over the years as the original “B” Team to help out with childcare or other support when needed. Mom’s super power was always being able to tell if something was wrong just by the sound of your voice. And no matter what, Mom would be gracious, kind and unfailingly positive. Her family was a great source of pride, and in her last few years, the newest additions to the family were Mom’s greatest source of joy.
Large or small, family gatherings were a priority, and happy hours were the specialty, always to include Mom’s signature Woodbridge chardonnay. These were punctuated every five years since 1988 with epic all-hands anniversary celebrations, including the Fabulous 50th at Cacapon State Park in West Virginia in 1993 and culminating with Mom and Dad’s 75 year Diamond Jubilee in November 2018, attended by nearly the entire extended Bell family.
Elfrieda and Les enjoyed many close friendships, including many from back in the day at Dumont High School and others from their time living in Dumont, NJ, Rockville, MD, and Crestwood Village in Frederick. With Les, she loved to travel, snowbird in Largo, Florida, and play bridge with friends. Solo, Elfrieda loved to cook, knit, play word games and throw parties. Elfrieda’s family is comforted by the thought that after four difficult years without Les, she is back in Dad’s arms as they dance timelessly to Frank Sinatra.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that family and friends pay forward to your loved ones the unconditional love and support that Mom provided over so many years. Services and interment will be private.