|Birth: ||Jan. 2, 1898|
|Death: ||Sep. 10, 2007|
Esther was blesssed by three marriages,
Karl Sigfrid Adrian Fredrikson
Frank Lorenzo Bell
102 Years of Memories
By Pam Steinte, contributing writer
The Plaindealer - St. James, Minnesota
While Esther Bell agrees life is easier now compared to the early 1900's, she admits it may not be as interesting. Born in 1898, she observed first hand the many changes in technology and lifestyle during the last 102 years.
On January 2, 2000, Esther Bell's life spanned three centuries. As she told of the changes that occurred during the 1900's she shared her personal experiences as well.
A city girl at first, Bell received her diploma and teachers license at educational institutions in St. Paul, MN. Bell began teaching in country schools, which was more to her liking than the traditional school she had come from.
A young fourth grade boy stands out in her memory from her teaching years, He would throw spit-balls, and one time he hit the black board. After school was let out Bell asked him to stay.
"I rapped him on the hand with a ruler outside, and he was the best behaved (boy) after that," said Bell with a smile. "You can't do that anymore."
She taught in Southern Minnesota for five years, meeting and marrying Sig, Fredrikson in the process.
Bell told of becoming a farmer's wife, without electricity until 1938 and running water until she moved to town later in life. Besides learning to churn her own butter, she also planted a garden.
She related the time she transplanted rhubarb found in the grove to her garden. After telling Sig the good news, he went and looked for himself. It turned out she had transplanted burdock instead.
As Bell told of those first few years on the farm she laughed. Remembering the conversion from horse and buggy to the Ford Model T .
"Sig was in the field, and I was going to try and drive the car. I backed it out, and drove around, but I didn't know how to stop!" Bell went on to explain how she drove the car into a wood pile next to the garage, managing to successfully stop the vehicle.
"But the worst part was, he saw me. Sig just laughed out there in the field."
Bell experienced a mother's turmoil during the foreign wars. She watched both her sons go to war, Glenn to Germany during World War II and Howard to Korea on the front lines.
Together they farmed in Waltham, and later St. James, raising four children, Lois, Janet, Glenn and Howard.
She remembers very clearly when Howard came home after being wounded. "I was helping in the grocery store with the books, when I looked up and there was Howard walking down the aisle towards me. We hadn't heard from him, and that was the biggest surprise I'd ever had."
In 1955, the couple chose to move to Arizona. Sig passed away, and Bell married Burt Godfredson.
Bell did a lot of traveling during this part of her life. In those times, they didn't necessarily have a destination in mind. They just drove and looked around perhaps visiting people they knew along the way.
She was introduced to the airplane around this time. On a trip to the East Coast Bell told of getting on the plane in Arizona at midnight and arriving in Boston as the sun was coming up.
Godfredson passed away in 1978. Esther married Frank Bell a few years later, and they moved back to St. James shortly after. Frank passed away in 1984 due to health problems while in Austin with his family. Esther lived in an apartment for 13 years before moving into Pleasant View in October of 1998.
Bell has four children, 15 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren.
"I think she's a very good role model. I don't think I'll live that long and be that capable." said daughter Lois of her Bell (mother). "She's always very inquisitive about everything and anxious to know about things. She'll keep investigating everything. She's always so interested; that's why she has lived so long."
Esther Mae Jones, born January 2, 1898 and died September 10, 2007 four months short of her 109th birthday.
Esther was born January 2, 1898 at Austin, MN to Samuel and Elizabath (Sayles) Jones. Her father was an engineer on the railroad so her family lived in several railroad towns. She attended school in Mankato and St. Paul where she graduated from Central High School and received a Teaching Certificate. She taught in several rural schools in the Austin Area.
On January 29, 1921, Esther married Sigfred A. Fredrikson and they farmed on several locations in Mower County before moving to the St. James area in 1930 where they farmed on three locations before moving into St. James in 1951. During that time Esther was active in the extension Club, the Farm Bureau, and local school board, and she and Sig were two of the organizers and first adult leaders of the Golden Gleaners 4-H Club in 1936.
In 1956 Esther and Sig moved to Mesa, AZ where Sig passed away in 1962. In 1966 Esther married Bert Godfredsen who died in 1976. In 1978 she married Frank Bell who died in 1984.
Esther moved back to St. James in 1984 and lived in an apartment until she entered Pleasant View Nursing Home in 1997 shortly before her 100th birthday.
She is survived by her children Lois Miest of St. James, Janet McMahon of St. Charles, IL, Glenn and wife Joan (Weast) Fredrikson of Mesa, AZ, Howard and wife Annette (Sandberg) Fredrikson of St. James, 15 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren, 41 great-great-grandchildren and numerous step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, three husbands, two brothers Wallace and wife Edna Jones, Maurice and wife Verla Jones two sons-in-law George W. Miest and Joseph McMahon.
September 13, 2007
St. James, Minnesota
County's oldest resident passes away
by Mark Anderson, staff writer
The Plainsdealer - September 13, 2007
Esther Bell, 1898-2007
Believed to be Watonwan County's oldest resident, Esther Bell passed away on Monday at 109 years old.
In a life that spanned three different centuries, Bell was born when horse and buggies were the main mode of transportation, and remembered when Modet-T's were new to the roads. She died on the day that man-made rovers resumed exploring Mars after a dust storm.
The Plainsdealer has been invited to Bell's past two birthday's.
The secret to Bell's longevity may have been her attitude. Bell made the most out of life, telling the Plainsdealer "enjoy the people," this January. She did just that at Pleasant View, entertaining everyone by singing "Hippity-hop to the barber shop" for neighboring residents and Pleasant View employees, who would join in singing with her.
"She just makes everybody smile. I've never seen anyone sad around her," said Melissa Rann, a nurse at Pleasant View.
Lois Miest, Bell's eldest daughter said her death was a blessing, after such a long life.
"She wasn't really enjoying life any more the last few weeks," said Miest, "she had gotten a virus and never really got away from it."
In January 2006, Bell had 92 descendants, which has increased to 98 now. "She had a big impact on all of her family," said Miest, "It shows because a large percentage of them are coming to her funeral.
Samuel J Jones (1869 - 1924)
Elizabeth McAndrews Jones Cowley (1873 - 1958)
Frank Lorenzo Bell (1894 - 1984)
Karl Sigfrid Adrian Fredrikson (1887 - 1962)*
Janet Adrienne Fredrikson McMahon (1924 - 2014)*
Esther Mae Jones Bell (1898 - 2007)
Wallace Samuel Jones (1899 - 1997)*
Mount Hope Cemetery
Created by: Dorothy Peterson Kunz
Record added: Jun 15, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 91981714