Betty Weir Bell passed peacefully in her sleep on Friday, March 6, 2020 and oh girl did she have a spectacular run through this thing called life. Betty was born in Columbus, Ohio June 20, 1924 to Charles and Mary Tobin Weir. Along with her siblings Margret, John, Patricia and JoAnn, the family soon moved to Omaha, Nebraska. Though her birthplace was the Midwest, she was certainly not a midwestern girl! She became one of the youngest pilots to solo at age 16. Betty was ready to join the WAC's after graduation from Central High School, but as The War was winding down, the program was disbanded. A deeply disappointed Betty was advised by a wise mother to give Sun Valley, Idaho a try. And like many midwestern youth, found her way to Sun Valley via the resort's owner, Union Pacific Railroad. As a soda fountain jerk at the Challenger Inn she met the love of her life, Ned Bell, a bellman at the Sun Valley Lodge. Their marriage became even more noteworthy for their love and respect they had for one another even after their divorce. Betty immediately got on the fast track (that was her trademark) shortly after arriving in Sun Valley. A few notables were competing in the 1952 winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, competing in the original Diamond & Gold Sun races down Baldy, European Birkebeiner, Tri-Elephant-a-thon and many others, all while raising four children. Betty, and her good friend Vicki Graves spearheaded the Shamrock Relays and the infamous hazing 'Instructor Days' in the late 50's through the 70's. Betty was a three-handicap golfer and keen tennis player. She started flying again in her 40's and much to the consternation of Ned, landing her Piper Cub on the Sun Valley golf course. Good thing it was 'slack' Ned thought. She also earned her A.T. P. and flew hundreds of round-trip charter flights to Salt Lake and Boise before there were scheduled flights to Hailey. Betty also became a flight instructor and taught many local women and men become pilots. Betty opened a Nordic cross-country center with a tiny retail/rental shop on the Bigwood Golf Course that had by coincidence, previously been a dirt airstrip she used for landing. Betty was an avid reader and frequent visitor to The Community Library. She also was an aspiring writer with her column, Small Potatoes, in the Idaho Mountain Express and articles in a few national magazines. Betty was preceded in death by her husband Ned, and daughter Dusti. She is survived by her daughter, Andy Bell and Bridget Cimino, her son Dave Bell and granddaughter Ebi Bell. Betty would not pick a pedestrian, well-liked animal as her favorite totem. She chose the beautiful, intelligent Magpie and had a notorious love for them. When you see a Magpie, an especially precocious one- you know the one with the mischievous glint in its eye, think of Betty. Also, should you see a worm struggling to get off the drying bike path after a rain, give it nudge to the dirt as Betty would.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Betty Ellen Bell, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.