Patricia J. (Pat) Bell, 91, died on Aug. 14, 2023. Pat was born in Oklahoma but became a proud Minnesotan after moving to Eden Prairie in 1967.
During the 1970s, Pat taught English classes ranging from seventh grade English to concentration classes such as science fiction. She loved being a teacher, and always considered the new year began in September, not January. A short stay in Tennessee caused her to leave Eden Prairie Schools. Even though she was never a classroom teacher again, she continued to teach her whole life.
When an Eden Prairie High School colleague introduced Pat to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), she and her husband, Don, started to take what became annual canoe trips in the wilderness area. At first, the trips included all four kids, but eventually, it was just Pat and Don. They continued to have interesting adventures while canoeing for many years.
Desktop and self-publishing came of age during the 1980s, and Pat decided to write and publish a book on canoe camping, titled “Roughing it Elegantly: A Practical Guide to Canoe Camping.” This led to involvement in the Midwest Independent Publishers Association and writing several more books.
Family genealogy was a lifelong interest, and she was quite proud of her work to trace the family back to the 1790s when the last members came from Europe. Her research allowed her to claim membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution and to become an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.
During their retirement years, Don and Pat traveled within the United States and internationally. Instead of visiting major cities, they concentrated on areas with interesting history and nature.
She was preceded in death by her husband and best friend of 60 years, Don. She is survived by her children: Lynne (Richard Hendricks), Jean Jarvis, Dave (Debra Raymer), and Amanda; and her grandchildren: Lauren, Claire, Brenna, Ryan and Sydney.
A celebration of life will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Tea Room. Memorials may be directed to The PROP Shop in Eden Prairie, where she volunteered for many years.
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