Joan Bell, 91

Joan Doris Bell, age 91, of Sturgis, passed away Tuesday evening, Nov. 27, 2012, at Thurston Woods Village in Sturgis.

She was born March 18, 1921, in Woodstock, Ill., a daughter of the late James and Ada (Carlson) Berkhout.

Mrs. Bell resided in Sturgis since 1946, coming from Aurora, Ill. On June 9, 1945, she married Robert O. Bell in Phoenix. He died March 24, 1997.

She was a homemaker and longtime active member of First Baptist Church in Sturgis. Mrs. Bell was a life member of the Jack Johnston Chapter #88 D.A.V. Auxiliary, past president and member of the Sturgis Historical Society and member of the St. Joseph County Historical Society and various community involvements. Mrs. Bell enjoyed historical research, crocheting and needlework and was happiest when she was able to do for others.

She is survived by two sons, Robert O. Bell II of Jasper, Ga., and David (Kathy) Bell of Manchester, N.H.; four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Carl Berkhout; and two half-brothers, Dr. Jan Berkhout and James Berkhout.

The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Hackman Family Funeral Homes – Rosenberg Chapel, 807 E. Chicago Road, Sturgis. Funeral services celebrating the life of Joan Bell will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church in Sturgis. The Rev. James Bender will officiate. A graveside committal will follow the service at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis.

The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mrs. Bell’s memory consider First Baptist Church, 28090 E. Fawn River Road, Sturgis, MI 49091.

Her obituary is also at, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

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