Verna Annette Bell (nee McLean)

Verna Annette Bell (nee McLean)

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

After a long and valiant struggle with metastatic breast cancer, beloved mother, sister, aunt and grandmother, Verna Bell, passed on July 25th, 2015.  Her passage was peaceful and she went without fear.

How do you sum up the life of someone as special as Verna?  You can’t really – it would take 79 years, but it would begin with her birth in Silver Creek on July 8th, 1936. Verna Annette McLean was the 2nd daughter of Vancil and Myrtle McLean.  The McLeans were one of the first families to settle in Silver Creek, where Verna and her two sisters, Beula (Gibbons) and Eileen (Toop), grew up.

Verna married Marvin Crocker in 1955 and over the next 3 years gave birth to three children, Karen (Ashdown) and twins Lance and Lorne.  Eventually settling in Williams Lake, BC, they adopted 5 more children, Ida, Veasey, Scott, Craig and Lacey (Goldney).  Verna ran a receiving home in Williams Lake, contracting for the Ministry of Social Services.  In that time she fostered well over 200 temporary foster children.  She loved children.

In 1974 the family moved to Yellowknife, N.W.T. where Verna, a supermom, ran a daycare, worked a night job, took care of her family and still found time to do all of her own baking.

In 1979, she moved her still-at-home children back down to Silver Creek, where she eventually adopted one more child, Caryn (Munro).  Verna worked very hard to support her family as a now single parent, and as well, to watch out for her mother Myrtle McLean.

As her children grew up and eventually left home, Verna made room for a new partner in her life, marrying Robert Bell in 1995.  The two travelled extensively.  In 1998 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy.  Thankfully the cancer went into remission, much to the relief of her family and friends, and by 2006 she was immersed in building a new house on the McLean property in Silver Creek.  In 2009 Robert passed away in Victoria, BC.

In 2011, the dragon cancer returned, metastasizing into lung and eventually bone cancer.  With the help of a compassionate medical system and of family, Verna lived comfortably and actively with the disease, until a recent turn and relatively rapid decline.  Special thanks to her oncologist, GP, and hospice workers for helping the family create a pain management system that maximized the quality of life over time equation.

Verna Bell was a wonderful and generous person with many friends.  For the last six years one of her passions was to collect, clean and dress dolls and put together toy packages for children at overseas missions.  She was proud of the fact that she had sent over 5000 dolls and countless books and other toys to children who needed them. She was human and faced many challenges in her life, but she always strove to find the sunny side.  When life handed her lemons, she made lemonade and gave it away for free.  She leaves a very large void for those left behind, but all are extremely grateful for the time and love she shared, and for the joy she brought into the world.   We will always love you Verna Annette.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at the Salmon Arm Seventh Day Adventist Church:  3270 60th Ave NE | Monday, August 3rd | 11 am.  Flowers are welcome, but in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.

Online condolences can be sent through Verna’s obituary at

Arrangements are in the care of Bowers Funeral Home and Crematorium, Salmon Arm.

Your condolences will be approved within one business day. You will need a valid Facebook account. Please email us if you have any questions.