Janet Lea Bell, 90, of Woodstock, passed away on April 9, 2023, surrounded by family and loved ones after a short battle with cancer at JourneyCare Hospice in Barrington.
Janet was born to Andrew and Molly Johnson on April 3, 1933, in Stillwater, Okla. She married James “Jimmy” Bell on April 22, 1956, and moved to the Chicago area in 1968. Janet worked at Harrison School in Wonder Lake for 31 years as secretary to the superintendent. With her hardworking, supportive, and calm demeanor, she made many lifelong friends at Harrison, including her closest friend and “partner-in-crime,” Dorothy. Dorothy and Janet got together often through the years and were known to take off on trips up to Ho-Chunk Casino in Wisconsin well into their 80s.
In retirement, she traveled, read books, and sewed over 1,200 dresses for a non-profit, Little Dresses For Africa. “Every little girl should have a nice, clean dress to wear,” she used to say. She also spent time with her family. Janet’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are filled with gratitude for the memories they have with her like making homemade gingerbread houses every Christmas, family meals, and the countless hours simply sitting and enjoying being around each other. Janet loved to watch “Jeopardy!” and her favorite football teams, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Chicago Bears. In one of her final moments, she jokingly mentioned to the only Packers fan in the immediate family that she “is not surprised that Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been traded yet.” She was independent, stubborn, and kind. “Grandma/Gma/Janet/Mom” was well-loved and lived well.
Janet was preceded in death by her husband, Jimmy, and granddaughter, Melissa Malo. She is survived by her children, Laura (Doug) Malo of Woodstock and Mark (Cathy) Bell of Jefferson City, Mo.; seven grandchildren, Andy and Adam Coffer, and Ryan, Andrew, Tyler, Christoper (Abby), and Brittany (Matthew) Malo; eight great-grandchildren, Eli, Esme, Evelyn, Gage, Rex, Scarlett, Tristan, and Wyatt; two siblings, June (Tom) Jobe and AJ Johnson; as well as beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
At her request, there will be no memorial services. The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to JourneyCare Hospice in Janet’s name.