Dorothy Jean Bell was born June 23, 1943 in Maud, Texas to proud parents Crate Crowell and Mary Johnson. A long-time resident of Sacramento, CA, Dorothy died peacefully at home on Saturday, January 19, 2019 with her daughter by her side.
As a young girl raised by her Grandparents in Maud, Dorothy was affectionately nicknamed “Dot” by her close family and friends. Some of her favorite things to do were going to church and hanging with friends; later in her life she would often share stories of playing in the red clay under the Texas sun. She relished taking trips with her Papa and spending time in the kitchen while her beloved Grandma Lottie baked pies.
After her Papa died, it was determined that Dot should with go live with her Aunt Georgia, (whom everyone called “Sista”), in Fredrick, Oklahoma. While in Frederick, Dot continued to be involved in the church, as well as running for various student council positions at her high school and enjoying time with friends whenever Sista would let her free. She always joked that “If Sista couldn't call, then she couldn't go.” She dreamed of leaving her small town life behind and going on to discover more of what life had to offer in the big city. Shortly after graduating Valedictorian of her class at Boyd High School in 1941, she said her goodbyes and boarded a bus headed for San Francisco, California, leaving the small town life behind. After a year stint in San Francisco living with her favorite uncle and his family, she moved to Sacramento, where she would start a family, establish everlasting friendships and spend the rest of her life.
As she was starting her career with Pacific Bell in Sacramento, she met a young man named Isiah Bell Jr, who worked in the mail room. What started as friendly conversations in the hallway turned to dates outside of the office, and then into true love, culminating with their union of marriage in May of 1968. With her marriage to Isiah Dorothy became a step-mother to Yvette and Tony, and four years later she celebrated the birth of her only child Tesha, who she would affectionately nicknamed “Tiki”. She loved being a mother and held the honor in the highest regard, doting on her children as only a devoted mother can.
Dorothy held a very active life traveling with her husband and family, and playing tennis with the Ebony Racquet Club until her true passion took over: Shopping. We don't know what store first caught her eye, but the love she had for shopping and browsing shops for hours would become as much a part of Dorothy as any of her hobbies. Tesha would jokingly say that before cell phones were invented if she couldn't find her mom she would just call Marshall's and TJ Maxx until she located her. Not for emergency purposes, of course but just a child trying to check-in with her mom and wondering what time she would be home. Dorothy created many friendships during her years of shopping her way from Sacramento to the Bay.
When she retired with Pacific Bell after 32 years, Dorothy wasn't one to let the grass grow under her feet. Her love for Christ inspired her to attend BSF International, where her knowledge of the bible grew exponentially. Once she completed her extensive studies, she went on to become an employee with the Federal Government where she would travel to different states assisting with disaster & relief efforts. Dorothy’s lifelong passion for “God” led her to become a Small Group Facilitator for her SAG group with St. Paul Baptist Church for over the last 15 years. She also took her passion to Kaiser Hospital where she volunteered every Wednesday, up until her illness no longer allowed her to get out. She would talk about the many faces she would come across and pray that they were getting the services they needed.
Her passion for shopping soon transitioned to her new granddaughter, Nahla Jai whom she helped her daughter Tesha name. Dorothy was always excited to tell Tesha about the latest adorable gift she had bought for her grandbaby. Tesha would always just tell her mom what she was looking for, and before she knew it, it had shown up at her door. Dorothy always enjoyed her time with Nahla, from holidays, to sleepovers to having her join her at church. She always had a smile on her face as she gave friends the latest “Nahla” update.
One of the things I will always remember about my mommy was her incredible sense of style. Even into my adulthood I sought her fashion advice. She was full of live, with a quick-witted humor and beautiful smile that we will never forget. But most of all, my mother gave her guidance with no chaser. She always said if mommy can't tell you the truth who else if going to tell you! She loved gardening, being out in her backyard, and just hanging out. . She prided herself on being her own boss and doing things her way, and when she wanted to. This included reminding her child when they hung up from their nightly phone calls that she didn't have to get up early because she was retired!
Dorothy was predeceased by her parents, Crate Crowell and Mary Payton, Debra Blade , Jimmy L. Crowell, Robert Crowell, Bobby L. Crowell, Bill Roberston, Betty J. Crowell. She is survived by her child, Tesha (John) Bell, step-children, Yvette (Glen) Shields, Anthony (Gayle) Bell; Siblings, Nina Payton, Darlene (Buddy) Tate, Dinah Chaney, Dorothy Johnson, Mary Stuckey, Alice Richardson, Sandra K. Harris. Grandchild, Nahla Gaffney, a host of step-grandchildren, cousins and great nieces and nephews.