Jeanne Bell, alumna, honorary doctorate recipient and longtime champion of McGill, passed away on November 29, after a twenty year struggle with progressive dementia.
Bell was born in Ottawa, the only child of Alma Eagley Atkinson and George Roy Atkinson, and raised in Toronto. In 1943, she interrupted her studies at the University of Toronto to join the RCAF and was stationed in for two years in Dartmouth, NS. She completed her BA (Honours English) at McGill in 1947 and won the Shakespeare Gold Medal. That same year she married Robert (“Bob”) Edward Bell, physicist, and they lived for years in Chalk River, Ontario. She then completed her Bachelor of Library Science at McGill, and in 1955, gave birth to Alison Ann Bell, only child.
During the years that Bob Bell was Director of the Foster Radiation Laboratory at McGill, and later while he served as Principal, Jeanne thrived in the intellectual environment of the University and was tireless at promoting staff relations, entertaining, working at the Rare Book Room and standing on the Visual Arts Committee. She was awarded an Honorary Degree by McGill (D. Litt) in 1978.
By her request, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “Jeanne Bell Women in Science Undergraduate Research Award at McGill University” (for further information call 514-398-3128).
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