|Birth: ||Jan. 20, 1884|
St. Louis City
|Death: ||Mar. 2, 1963|
St. Louis City
History and tribute by her great grandson Phillip Plotz, M.D. with help from Art Bell and Mark Bell.
Anna Marie Vollmer Bell was born 20 Jan 1884 in St. Louis to parents Otto Vollmer Sr. (b: 25 Oct 1848, Germany, d: 13 Jul 1930, St. Louis, MO) and Bertha Louise Kujath Vollmer (b: 26 May 1865, Germany, d: 14 Jul 1926, St. Louis, MO).
She was their first child. Anna's siblings were:
*Carl (Charles) Joseph Vollmer (b: 26, Dec 1885, St. Louis; d: 5 Aug 1957, Maywood, IL) married to Clara E. Sandkohl (b: 25 May 1886, Chicago, IL; d: 31 Dec 1966, Westchester, IL)
*Eugene Johan (John) Vollmer (b: 24 Oct 1886, St. Louis; d: 25 Nov 1887, St. Louis)
*Otto Friedrich Vollmer (b: 8 Oct 1888, St. Louis; d: 16 Aug 1963, St. Louis) married first to Lulu M. Roebke (b: 18 Jan 1888, St. Louis; d: 4 Feb 1917, St. Louis) and then to Eleanor Unger Fabian (b: 10 Feb 1891, Germany; d: 11 Jan 1975, St. Louis)
*Wilhelm (William) Christiom Vollmer (b: 24 Oct 1890, St. Louis, d: 22 Jan 1964, St. Louis) married to Adalia (Adele) Mamie Amelie Roebke (b: 1 Feb 1892, d: 26 Apr 1970, St. Louis)
*Johana Amilia (Emily) Vollmer (b: 27 Mar 1892, St. Louis; d: 30 May 1894, St. Louis)
*Gustav Adolf Vollmer (b: 25 May 1894, St. Louis; d: 17 Jun 1950, St. Louis) married to Jessie Jones Reece (b: abt 1905, d: unknown)
*Bertha Matilda Vollmer (b: 31 Aug 1896, St. Louis; d: 22 Jan 1984) married first to Allen Keen (b: 1892; d: unknown) then to Fred Albert Cramer (b: 19 Jan 1900, St. Louis; d: 21 Aug 1961, St. Louis)
*Rosalie Vollmer (b: 28 Apr 1900, St. Louis; d: 28 Apr 1900, St. Louis)
As the oldest child in a working class, immigrant family, she likely bore the largest responsibility in helping to raise her siblings and had to quit school after the 5th grade to get a job to help support the family. She was probably bi-lingual as her parents were German immigrants and they lived among many German families. At the age of 16, Anna worked in a tavern in the mornings cleaning, where she met her future husband Charles Monteith Bell (b: 15 Sep 1870, Chattanooga, TN, d: 22 Oct 1956, St. Louis, MO) who tended bar there. After obtaining written permission from her father Otto Vollmer, they married in St. Louis 12 Dec 1901 at St. James Evangelical Church. She was 17 and he was 31.
Tavern work would have been a typical job for a young woman in Anna's position. German immigrant women and their daughters in those days tended to have either janitorial or service type jobs. And taverns were frequent meeting places in German communities, reminding Germans of their beer halls and beer gardens in the Old Country. They were a gathering place where Germans could speak their native language and have German food and drink while networking and discussing the day's social and political issues.
Anna and Charles had the following children, all born at home:
*Alma Agustine Bell (b: 23 Oct 1902, d: 15 Jan 1988) married on 4 Jan 1923 to Anthony Albert Hoefle (b: 2 Jan 1903, d: 15 Dec 1963)
*Charles Henry Bell (b: 20 Jan 1904, d: 4 Apr 1962) married on 2 May 1934 to Mattie Lee Knott Tanner (b: 2 Sep 1912, d: 4 Aug 1960)
*Thomas Joseph Bell (b: 24 Oct 1905, d: 12 Feb 1986) married on 7 Dec 1945 to Ione E. Grote (b: 22 Sep 1914, d: 9 Aug 2004)
*Stella Bertha Bell (b: 3 Jun 1908, d: 4 Jun 1908)
*Walter William Bell (b: 16 Jan 1910, d: 13 Jul 1982) married on 6 Sep 1932 to Grace Marie Haley (b: 8 Sep 1909, d: 27 Mar 1979)
*Anna Stella Bell (b: 18 Oct 1916, d: 18 Oct 2002) married on 11 Nov 1939 to Richard Charles Nieman Sr. (b: 10 Nov 1912, d: 30 Dec 1974)
*Roy Conley Bell (b: 4 Jan 1921, d: 3 Dec 2012) married on 2 Sep 1950 to Wilamay Louise Herzberg (b: 15 Dec 1915, d: 31 Mar 2002)
*Arthur Raymond Bell (b: 24 Jun 1923) married on 21 Jun 1947 to Anastasia Kleason (b: 17 Jan 1924)
*Eileen Ruth Bell (b: 28 Nov 1926, d: 21 Feb 2008) married on 9 Jul 1949 to Ralph Henry Hoelscher (b: 16 Jun 1926, d: 13 Nov 1990)
Her second child, Charles, was born on her birthday.
Note that their fourth child, Stella, died after one day and was premature. This must have been particularly painful for Anna. Stella is buried in Friedens Cemetery.
The family lived first at 1121A Salisbury then moved to a rented 4-room apartment (3726A Florissant). The Salisbury apartment was on the second floor above a bar and dance hall. The cramped living conditions of the large Bell family must have had its challenges but also helped keep the family close.
She had to be frugal; for example her son Art remembers Anna making her own soap from recycled cooking fat.
Charles and Anna were avid card players and very competitive. They met some Fridays with her little sister Bert and her husband for rounds of pinocle while their children played. Charles and Anna were also intensely competitive when playing each other in cards.
She was a member of Friedens Evangelical Church which was walking distance to their home and brought her children there to be confirmed. And she was also involved with the PTA at her children's school.
After her husband Charles died in 1956 of a stroke, she kept busy by going back to work. Anna was employed in the evenings cleaning the offices of Measuregraph Co. on West Pine. She didn't drive so her son Walter would drive her to work and pick her up in the evenings. Her grandson Mark remembers one funny story of her leaving a note to the boss to stop putting cigarette ashes in the trash. Her boss stopped doing that after receiving her note. Mark also remembers her excellent cooking especially specialties like German potato salad. Mark said: "She was an amazing woman."
While holding down this job, she also helped to take care of her oldest son Charles Henry Bell who was suffering from terminal lung cancer. She faithfully visited him to help with his care and to clean his house. He died before she did, yet another painful experience that no parent should have to endure.
Her son Art recalls Anna's dedication to her family and described her as "a saint." At one point as a child, Art had been badly burned on his legs by a pot of hot coffee that accidentally spilled on him and he remembers his mother Anna lovingly changing his dressings and seeing that he got excellent medical care.
At the age of 79, Anna died 2 Mar 1963 at Missouri Baptist Hospital in St. Louis of thyroid cancer and was buried next to her husband and son at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in St. Ann, MO. At the time of her death, she had been living at 2113A Salisbury Street.
Obituary St. Louis Post-Dispatch March 2, 1963
BELL, ANNA M. (nee Vollmer).
Sat., March 2, 1963, beloved wife
of the late Charles M. Bell, dear
mother of Alma Hoefle, Thomas
J., Walter W. and Ann Nieman,
Roy C., Arthur R., Eileen Hoelsch-
er and the late Charles H. Bell,
dear grandmother, great-grand-
mother, mother-in-law, sister, sis-
ter-in-law and aunt.
Funeral Wed., March 6, 1 p.m.,
from MATH HERMANN & SON'S
Chapel, Fair and West Florissant
avs. Interment Mount Lebanon
Cemetery. In parlors after 4:30
Otto Vollmer (1848 - 1930)
Bertha Louise Kujath Vollmer (1865 - 1926)
Charles Monteith Bell (1870 - 1956)
Augusta Alma Bell Hoefle (1902 - 1988)*
Charles Henry Bell (1904 - 1962)*
Thomas Joseph Bell (1905 - 1986)*
Stella Bertha Bell (1908 - 1908)*
Walter William Bell (1910 - 1982)*
Anna Stella Bell Nieman (1916 - 2002)*
Roy Conley Bell (1921 - 2012)*
Arthur Raymond Bell (1923 - 2014)*
Eileen Ruth Bell Hoelscher (1926 - 2008)*
Anna Marie Vollmer Bell (1884 - 1963)
Charles (Carl) Joseph Vollmer (1885 - 1957)*
Eugene Johann Vollmer (1886 - 1887)*
Otto Friedrich Vollmer (1888 - 1963)*
William (Wilhelm) Christiom Vollmer (1890 - 1964)*
Johanna Emily Vollmer (1892 - 1894)*
Gustav Adolf Vollmer (1894 - 1950)*
Bertha Matilda Vollmer Keen Cramer (1896 - 1984)*
Rosalie Vollmer (1900 - 1900)*
Mount Lebanon Cemetery
St. Louis County
Plot: Sec D, Lot 336, Sp 2
Created by: Phil
Record added: Mar 14, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 106705980