Bodil (Betty) Elizabeth Kastelan (Bell) nee Neilsen, suddenly passed away on Thursday, November 20, 2008.
She will be remembered for her generosity, dry wit, Christianity, tenacity and her ability to pick her life up and make the best after a setback. Setbacks she had, but she always came back as strong as ever.
Betty was born in Calgary on July 3, 1932 and lived there until eight years old. In 1940 she moved with her family to Kamloops, BC where her father was stationed during the WWII. At the end of the war they moved to Alberni, BC where she attended school until age 16. She loved salmon fishing in the Alberni Canal.
In 1948 Betty left for Edmonton, AB to go to Condordia College to finish her high school and train as a teacher. In 1950, while working as a waitress in Chilliwack to earn money to finish her college education, she met Wayne Edgar Bell (1920-1963) whom she fell in love with and married. Betty and Wayne variously lived together on the Bell family homestead up the Vedder River, in Nanaimo, in Alberni, and finally back in Chilliwack in 1961 when Wayne’s health began to fail.
Betty and Wayne had five children together, with the youngest being two years old, when Wayne died in 1963. After her children were all in school, in 1968 Betty went to night school and learned bookkeeping and office administration. She was working at York Farms Cannery in Sardis when she met Edmond Peter Kastelan (1920-1987), fell deeply in love and married on December 20, 1968.
In 1970 Betty and Ed, with three of the children, moved to Quesnel, BC where Ed had been hired as a School Bus mechanic. Betty’s sixth and last child (Valerie) was born on October 16, 1970. The family hunted, fished and camped in the Cariboo for ten years.
In 1980 Betty and Ed moved to Cranbrook, BC and their they opened a Roller Skating Rink. It was one of Betty and Ed’s life long dreams to own their own business. Unfortunately, the Roller Rink began to fail and was finally stolen from them by the partners they trusted.
In 1983 Betty attended the College of the Rockies and upgraded her Office Administration skills learning to use a computer. With Ed sick and unable to work, Betty worked as a bookkeeper in Cranbrook for two churches and a florist shop. In 1987 Ed Kastelan had a massive heart attack and died, widowing Betty for the second time at 54 years of age.
Betty and Valerie moved to Vancouver in 1988 and Betty got a full time job with Dr. Korec doing his bookkeeping and reception. She worked for nine years with Dr. Korec who became her good friend. She retired at age 65.
After she retired, Betty moved back to the old Bell homestead on the Vedder River and rented a mobile house trailer from her niece, Mary Lou Bell. Unfortunately, after a year the trailer caught fire and she had to move out. She moved to Powell River and started her life over again with her daughter Valerie, who she lived with for eight years.
As Betty’s health began to fail she moved into a care home in Powell River and in February 2008 she moved back to Chilliwack to live at Cascades Lodge. She died suddenly without any pain last Thursday.
Betty is survived by her daughters: Gail Bell (Bernie Hardinger); Maureen Vair (John); and Valerie Kastelan (Al Redikop). She is survived by her sons: Donald Bell (Sharon); Richard Bell (Bev Higgins); and Theodore (Ted) Bell. All of her grandchildren, whom she loved dearly, still survive her: Wayne Bell, Jennifer Vance, Jason Bell, Theresa Vair, Allison Vair, Emily Bell Higgins Josh Redikop and Ethan Redicop.
Betty especially wanted to move back to Chilliwack to see her only great-grandchild: Sierra Jade Vance, Betty’s brother John Neilsen, and her sister Inger Grieve both survive her.
As noted earlier, Betty was predeceased by both her husbands, Wayne Edgar Bell and Peter Edmond Kastelan. She is also predeceased by her siblings Asker Neilsen and Martha Hildebrant.
Betty was a life-long believer in the Christian faith. Her most beloved apostle was John and she treasured his ministry of love. She knew there was no hell and that her God would not torture his children anywhere for eternity. She is now basking in the ever-loving gaze of her Lord and God.
A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, November 27, 2008 at Henderson’s Funeral home in Chilliwack at 2:00 pm. A viewing for family and friends will be held 7:00 – 9:00 pm on Wednesday and 1:00 – 1:55 pm.
In lieu of flowers, a donation the Heart and Stroke Foundation would be most appropriate.
The family would like to extend our sincere thanks to the staff of the Cascade Lodge in Chilliwack for their respect and care for Betty during her stay with them. They do a great job.