Brenda Shipman Bell

December 17, 1943 - July 5, 2022
Brenda Shipman Bell

Mama was born on December 17th, 1943 in Wilmington, NC, and freed from her pain and struggles, July 5th, 2022.

She was a sweet, simple, southern homebody all her life, and an avid reader. Through her beloved books, Mama got to enjoy many different lives and adventures from the comfort of the home she shared with her husband, Robert ‘Nelson’ Bell, Sr. for 46 years. Married in 1961, August 13th, would have been their 61st anniversary, 61/61 was the goal she was trying to reach. We told her she reached it before her passing.

Mama/Nanny/Nana (lovingly by her grandchildren), loved to cook, and to her, food was love and southern food was love on a buttered biscuit or a perfect pancake sopped in syrup with extra crispy bacon. She was selfless in life and put her family’s interests before her own, and deserved so much more love, gratitude and credit than our words and actions could ever truly convey. Mama was the glue that held our family together, who made this house a home. She welcomed every person who entered, with a fresh cup of coffee, a cold glass of sweet tea, some good advice (whether you liked it or not), and a full belly when they left.

Mama made things happen. She provided over 30 years of treasured family memories, vacationing in our home away from home, Sugar Mountain N.C. every October. Our family, plus some, would gather to see the colorful fall leaves, local sight seeing, fun loving marshmallow fights and the ever elusive, 32nd annual, first ever, never happened, Horror Hike! Through these adventures, we learned to appreciate that there can be beauty in dying and letting go. A good life is like a Fall leaf that bursts rich and vibrant, then gently falls to earth, nourishing the roots and branches of the tree it’s left behind.

Mama enjoyed giving and sharing experiences with her children and grandchildren, and was the focal point and the root of all things good and meaningful in our lives. She was an advocate for women, children and animal rights, and proudly let her vote speak for those who, many times, could not speak for themselves.

Mama is on to her next chapter, her next adventure… we will take her lead and walk the rest of our lives enriched with the memories and life lessons she provided every step of the way. We hope to live our lives in ways that honor hers. Rest in Peace sweet Mama/Nanny/Nana, we will see you in the turn of a page, like leaves on the wind, until we see you again..

Children/Nanny’s babies:
Robert ‘Robbie’ Nelson Bell, Jr. (Jeannine), children: Garrett (wife, Madison) Bell, Erin (husband, Owen) Bell Wooten, Rachel Bell. Bridget Bell Palmer, children: Jillian Alane Palmer (Matt), Richard ‘Shane’ Palmer (fiancee Lauren).
Ryan Neal Bell, wife Kayla Danielle Bell, and Nanny’s (youngest) baby, Caedyn Ryne Bell. She wanted to live long enough for him to remember her, and because if her strong will, she did.

Sisters, Sandra Cayton, Marsha Kanapaux, and Jackie LaBrecque
Brothers, Jimmy Newton, Kevin Newton (d), and Greg Newton
And special, life long best friend, Sarah Jernigan

Novant NHRMC: CVICU, MICU and 7th floor staff, the main characters in the last chapter of Mama’s journey, we would like to thank you for the expressions of love, care, compassion and dignity for Mama and the family, especially during this, our most difficult chapter. We are humbly grateful to so many of you, for so many reasons.

Mama loved all children and animals, so in lieu of flowers, please donate to your local children’s organization or animal rescue, in her honor.

Share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099.

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  • September 12, 2022
    Brenda and Riley West says:
    I don't know how I missed knowing this but I just saw it when looking up someone else. I am so terribly sorry to hear of Brenda's passing. I hadn't seen her in years but I always considered she and Nelson and kids friends. She was such a wonderful person and true friend. I pray peace for each of you during this rough time.

  • August 12, 2022
    Bridget Palmer says:
    It's been 61 years since Mama and Daddy married in 1961. She proved through her life, she was in it for better or worse. What started as love between the two, quickly grew into love for us children and grandchildren. I could write a book about her selflessness and determination, putting her family first. Anyone who knew her knows she was strong willed, and that carried over to her protection for the family. Though she is not with us physically, she is with us in spirit and memories, and long standing family history and traditions. There is not a day that goes by that she isn't thought of and felt. August 13th, 2022, happy heavenly Anniversary Mama, we love and miss you so...

  • August 08, 2022
    Bridget Palmer posted an image:
    August 13th, 1961
    August 13th, 1961

  • August 08, 2022
    Bridget Palmer posted an image:
    A love without end..
    A love without end..

  • July 21, 2022
    Kris Stevens says:
    Brenda had such a wonderful laugh. It was powerful and joyful and always made me smile to hear her enjoying the company of family and friends.