Cover photo for Barbara Bell's Obituary
Barbara Bell Profile Photo
1969 Barbara 2013

Barbara Bell

December 31, 1969 — April 22, 2013

Barbara Hope Smith Bell, 92, of Watkins Glen, passed away April 22, 2013.

Born 1920 in Cortland, NY to Lloyd A and Gladys Everett Smith. She graduated in 1937 from Lowville Academy in Lewis County, NY. She married David Lewis Bell in 1939. He predeceased her in 1974.
Besides her parents and husband Barbara was also predeceased by sister Marcia Smith Week; and brothers, William Smith, Gordon Smith, and John Guppy. Barbara is survived by her son Richard D. Bell of Liverpool, NY; daughter Judythe L. Walters of Watkins Glen; grandson M. Scott Walters of Ithaca; sister Charlotte Smith Sheldon of Newbury Park, CA and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
Barbara began her writing career while in grade school when her first poem was published in a nationally distributed Baptist Sunday School publication. In 1952 she began writing for the two weekly Watkins Glen papers and the Dundee Observer. Researching and writing the history of Irelandville for publication in the Watkins Express during Schuyler County's centennial sparked an abiding interest in Schuyler County history. Looking for a more diverse use of local history stories led to contributions to a number of area publications. This, in turn, led to an offer in 1962 of full-time employment as a reporter and feature writer at the Ithaca Journal, a position she held until retirement in 1979.

Prior to employment at the Ithaca Journal, she also worked part-time for WFLR radio in Dundee with three weekly half-hour segments about Schuyler County activities. After retiring from the Ithaca Journal she returned to WFLR as a reporter for five years. She continued to write articles on local history for the Watkins and Dundee papers until about two years ago.

Barbara became the Town of Reading Historian in 1954 and was named Schuyler County Historian in 1980. She retired from her duties as historian in Dec. 2011.

Barbara has been listed in "Who's Who of American Women", "Foremost Women in Communications" and "International Who's Who in Poetry". She is included in the Schuyler County Hall of Fame and in 1995 was honored by the New York State Association of Municipal Historians as Outstanding Historian of the Year among other honors over the years.

She is a charter member of the Schuyler County Historical Society. For 35 years she served as editor of the Schuyler County Historical Society's quarterly Journal which she founded. She published four books about Schuyler history and a number of booklets while contributing to the historical journal. She published a book "Schuyler County Days Bygone" - a historical look at Schuyler County. She also published a historical novel "Letters To Suzanna".

Barbara requested in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity or to The Schuyler County Historical Society, P.O. Box 651; Montour Falls, NY 14865; Schuyler County Humane Society, P.O. Box 427; Montour Falls, NY 14865; or Reading Center Community Church, P.O. Box 23; Reading Center, NY 14876.

The family will receive friends and relatives at the Reading Community Church in Reading Center on Saturday, April 27, from 1pm-2pm, followed by a Memorial Service at 2:00pm.

You may view her memorial or sign a guestbook online at Arrangements by Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, Watkins Glen.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Bell, please visit our flower store.


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