Article Image Alt Text



Marie Darlene Gerdes Bell passed away on March 17, 2023, at the age of 85. She was born to William Daniel Gerdes and Amelia Karolina Margretha Behrends on May 23, 1937, in Auburn, Nebraska. She grew up on a farm 11 miles Southwest of Auburn, and attended Muddy Elementary School and Auburn High School where she graduated in 1954 and was awarded the Victorian Berlet Scholarship. Marie attended the University of Nebraska and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in 1958. Her activities and awards included Vocational Education Girl All Campus Textile and Clothing Competition, officer for several home economics clubs, and she was awarded the Silver Spoon at Ellen H. Richards Diner. She was a resident of Love Memorial Hall Co-operative dormitory on what is now the East campus of University of Nebraska, and she served as a class representative for alumni activities of the Hall. She was also a member and officer of Barb Activities Board for Women, and a member of the Vocational Education Association.

Marie married Alois “Al” Bell in 1958. She taught home economics at Eagle High School and Lincoln Northeast Junior High School, and worked as a secretary for the Agronomy Department while Al finished his Ph.D. In 1961, they moved to New Carrolton, Maryland where Al taught at the University of Maryland and worked as a Research Scientist for ARS, USDA at Beltsville, Maryland. Marie studied at the University of Maryland, majoring in clothing and textiles. Their first child, Karla, was born in 1967 in Maryland.

In 1970, Marie and Al moved to Bryan, Texas where Al was director of the USDA-ARS National Cotton Pathology Research Laboratory and their second child, Katherine, was born. They remained at their original residence at the time of her death.

Marie was very active in her daughters’ education and activities including PTA, PTO, Girl Scouts, Little League, Choir Board, and Band Boosters. Marie was a member of the Family Living Council of Brazos County and received an outstanding member award. She served as a 4-H judge for many food and style shows, was President of the Brazos Valley Home Economics Association, helped organize ACT, and was a member of the Lutheran Church where she was on the Altar Guild Committee and taught Sunday School. She was a sales representative for Leiters Design Fabrics, worked as a clerk and manager of Cloth World, and worked as a substitute teacher for the Bryan School District.

Marie was predeceased by her brother Orville and sisterin- law Ruth. She is survived by her husband Alois Bell; her daughter Karla Holmlund, her husband James ‘Jim’ Holmlund, and their children Jacob and Lauren; and by her daughter Dr. Katherine Bell-McGuinn, her husband Dr. William David McGuinn II, and their children Providence and William David III. A Celebration of Life will be held in remembrance at Peace Lutheran Church in College Station, Texas on June 17, 2023 at 11:00am.

Nemaha County Herald

PO Box 250
Auburn, NE 68305
PH: (402) 274-3185
FAX: (402) 274-3273