FALMOUTH – Norma Diana Taylor Bell, 88, passed away peacefully Friday, Aug. 26, 2011, surrounded by her immediate family at the home of son and daughter-in-law, Gerald W. and Tannia M. Bell. Norma was born Feb. 17, 1923, daughter of Louis and Laura Gifford Taylor of Old Town.
As a small child she moved to Bangor, where she was educated in the parochial school system, receiving awards for her penmanship. At the height of the Depression and as the oldest of six children, she was asked to sacrifice her education to help raise her younger brothers so her parents could both support this working-class family. Education was a precious commodity to her and subsequently she educated herself. During World War II she worked for a military contractor in Presque Isle. Later she worked in the shoe industry as a sewer for Viner Shoe Co. Shortly after, she married the love of her life, Gerald W. Bell Sr. of Veazie, settling into a homemaking career. For the next 15 years Norma and Gerald enjoyed an incredible life raising their two children and spending countless hours at her father’s camp on Green Lake. She was an avid sportswoman, camper, fisherwoman and arborist. She was also known for her poker playing acumen and never would miss a game of cards. Her other interests included becoming an expert rug braider, embroiderer and gardener. In 1963 she and her brother, Kenneth, opened a small antique store in Brewer. Eventually, in 1967, she became the sole proprietor. She was a voracious reader and educated herself in all aspects of the antique business. In 1968 she brought her husband into the business fulltime and from there for the next 30 years she ran a successful antique and auction business. She and her husband bought and sold antiques in Bangor and throughout New England. Known for tenacity, she was a shrewd dealer and negotiator. Beyond her successful business, she was an avid gardener who loved landscaping, flowers and trees. Probably the most important thing in Norma’s life was the love of her family, and being a great wife, mother and incredible grandmother. In 1991 she and her husband, Gerald, moved to Falmouth to be closer to their grandchildren and assist her son, Gerald W Bell Jr., in the antiques and auction business.
She was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Gerald W. Bell Sr., who passed away in April; her parents, Louis and Laura Taylor; her brothers, Kenneth Taylor, Franklin Taylor, Richard Taylor and Wilfred Taylor. She is survived by her brother, Earl Taylor; daughter and son-in-law, Betty Jean and Eric Brennan; son and daughter-in-law, Gerald W. and Tannia; and their grandchildren, Kristine Reilley, Meghan Licata, Thomas Brennan, Kaitlynn Porterfield and Brittany Bell. She will be sadly missed by all. We extend our gratitude and thanks to the people of Beacon Hospice for their compassion and caring during a very trying time with special thanks to Rebecca, Barbara and Shannon.
A celebration of Norma’s life will be held at a date to be announced at St. John’s Church, Bangor. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Norma Bell may be sent to The Light House Foundation, Beacon Hospice, 54 Atlantic Place, South Portland, ME 04106 or Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011.