July 04, 1936 - December 07, 2022


Joan Marie Bell

Joan Marie Bell entered the world on July 4,1936 with fireworks were exploding around the country. She was born to parents Josephine and Walter Caeton in Oakland California. Joan died on December 7, 2022 in San Ramon California after a brief illness.

Joan is preceded in death by her husband Patrick William Bell, mother and father Josephine and Walter Caeton, brother Bill Caeton (Dorothy), nephew Michael John Caeton, niece Marcia Bell, and brother-in-law Tom Bell and his wife Gerri.

Joan is survived by her daughter Jennifer Bell (Steve Metaxas), son Tim Bell (Kathryn Sowell), grandchildren Jessica Reay (Michael Reay), and Patrick Thomas Bell, great grandchildren Charlotte Reay and Ethan Reay, brother Walter Caeton (Emily), brother-in-laws Lynn Bell (Lynda), Mike Bell (Dawn), nieces Kathy Hazelroth (Lowell), Sandra Alvarez (Sato), Bernie Petay (Mark), Lisa Bond (Matt), Lory Bell-Moody (Thomas),Jill Bell (Matt), nephews Mike Bell (Lynn), Dave Caeton, Dan Caeton (Michelle), special cousin Helen Heinrich (Jim), many  great nieces and nephews and friends too numerous to count. 

Joan grew up in Oakland attending school at Saint Elizabeth Seton. She met her husband Patrick William Bell while attending USO dances with her special friend Martha Mossholder. She had two children Timothy and Jennifer and raised them with a tremendous amount of love and care while teaching them how to cook and garden along with lots of life lessons.

She and Pat moved her family from Fremont to Alameda in 1970 and she discovered that her children’s library was closed due to lack of funding. She organized parents and was able to open the library for the children in the school. She worked there for over a decade coordinating parents to take shifts in the schedule to cover the library.

In 1978 she became a Master Food Preserver for the University of California and taught people how to safely preserve food. This inspired her daughter decades later to start the same program in Humboldt County.

Joan was known for her excellent and abundant cooking. We often joked that a turkey and a ham just wasn’t enough for Christmas dinner, we should also have cioppino (yes she actually did that one year!). She baked hundreds of holiday cookies every year and distributed them to friends and family, and hosted many family holiday meals. Joan was also an active gardener with an amazing green thumb. Her blueberries were her pride and joy in the garden, and nothing made her happier than watching her great grandchildren pick and eat them. 

Joan and her husband Pat were co-owners of Bell Aerosupply in Hayward where they had amazing stories of selling corporate aircraft parts to celebrities, presidents of foreign countries, and corporate business owners. They worked hard for several decades to build their business. 

Joan spent a lot of time with her grandchildren, Jessica and Patrick while they were growing up. Trips with the camper to National Parks and dinners that involved heading to three different fast food restaurants (who were these people?!) led to many happy meals all around. Celebrations for birthdays and holidays were always special and enthusiastically enjoyed. 

In 1999 when her husband Pat died, she directed her energy into offering grief counseling using her story to help others move through the grieving process. She was part of the grief ministry for almost 20 years. She had a kind compassionate accepting way about her that made connections. People responded to her and she facilitated their healing journey. Joan facilitated groups, offered one on one meetings when needed, coordinated the materials, and brought people out of themselves. She was well loved by those grieving as well as the other Grief Ministers.

When special friend Valerie McClymont had her tiny baby Emily and needed port in a storm, Joan took her into her home and they were roomies for several years. Joan loved little Emily, and Val was a friend to the end attending many weekly zoom calls in Joan’s last years. 

While in her 60s when most people are winding down, Joan went back to school! She attended the Sophia Center at Holy Names college and graduated from the masters program there. She was always learning new things!

She always had close friends between those she knew at her church and lifelong friends like the “sewing ladies”, (who never sewed a single thing as far as I know), but would get together to celebrate their friendship every month.

Joan spent her last two years being cared for in the Reutlinger Community assisted living facility in Danville. If you’d like to make a donation in Joan’s name in lieu of flowers you can make a check payable to the Reutlinger Community with a note that it is for the Judy Fancher fund for the caregivers, 4000 Camino Tassajara Danville 94506. Those women took good care of Joan and are greatly appreciated.

A funeral including family and friends will be at Holy Sepulcher Mortuary and Cemetery in Hayward on December 23 from 12-2 pm.  If you would like to send flowers for the funeral, please arrange for them to be delivered the morning of December 23. There will be a celebration of her life on Sunday January 29, 2023 from 11am to 2 pm with a program at noon at 512 Cashew Ct., San Ramon.

Joan was the very best mother, grandmother and great grandmother-she was well loved and we will miss her. 

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