Virginia Ernestine Bell


Virginia Ernestine Zastrow Bell passed from this life peacefully on February 25, 2022. Virginia was the first child born to Frederick Carl Zastrow and Mary Martha Pauline (Scheel) Zastrow in Garfield, Minnesota on February 5, 1929. The family expanded to include four more daughters and a son, and they lived on a farm in Ida Township, Minnesota. Virginia’s favorite childhood memories included her mother making clothes for her doll, skiing with her siblings on one ski that her grandparents brought from Germany, and going to school.

Education was very important to her, even as a small child. She loved first grade so much that one morning, she dressed herself and trekked the long distance to the one-room schoolhouse she treasured. No one told her school was not in session on the weekends, and she was thoroughly disappointed to discover it was closed. She did not remember how long she sat on the steps, hoping someone would come along to unlock the door.

As she grew, it became apparent that farm life conflicted with her allergies and fiercely independent spirit. The teenager moved into an apartment with some friends to attend Alexandria High School. After graduation, it was time to hit the road again. She dreamed of moving to Montana to work on a dude ranch, but she started working at the Traveler’s Inn in Alexandria, along with her sisters Vangie and Delores.

The three sisters later moved to Denver, Colorado, where Virginia met and married Robert Bell and eventually settled in Huntington, WV. The hard-working mother lived in Huntington most of her life. She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church. She worked for many years for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Virginia is survived by her son, Randy Bell and his wife, Victoria; grandson Jason Bell, his wife, Lauren, and their children, Eli and Rayleigh Bell, of Texas; and granddaughter Miranda Bell, of Maine. She is also survived by two sisters, Evangeline (Zastrow) Oetting, of Colorado, Brenda (Diment) Chevalier and her husband, Marty Chevalier of Florida; her brother Milbert Zastrow of Minot, N. Dakota, and many beloved Nieces and Nephews.

Virginia is predeceased by her husband Robert Edward Bell (1929-1988); her son, Jeffrey Scott Bell, retired USAF (1962- 2011); Sisters Delores (Zastrow) Millett (1930-2020) and Dorothy (Diment) Chevalier (1947-2009).

Joshua 1:9 embodies Virginia’s spirit so beautifully:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Rest in Peace, Virginia, your family and friends will miss you.

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