Margaret Dozier Bell, 85, died peacefully April 2, 2010, at Chase Point Assisted Living in Damariscotta. She was born in Enfield, N.C., in 1924, the daughter of Richard D. Dozier and Mary Aycock Dozier. She and her beloved younger brother, Richard Jr., struggled through a childhood overshadowed by poverty and by the illness and early death of their mother. Always a resilient and independent spirit, she was proud of finishing high school on her own and then moving with a friend to Rocky Mount to take a job with Western Union. There she met Donald Bell, a Marine MP from Maine who was stationed at Camp Lejeune, and married him in 1945. Margaret was warmly welcomed by Donald’s large family when they moved back to Maine. Margaret and Don had four children, and over the years the family lived in Norway, Auburn, Bath, Manchester and Winthrop as Don’s career with Central Maine Power required.

Margaret began working as a secretary in the schools when the family lived in Bath. She continued at the Manchester Grammar School, and then as secretary to the headmaster at Kents Hill School. Her own difficult early life made her sensitive to children who needed a sympathetic ear and some caring words. They always seemed to find her, and she brightened many young lives with a daily dose of kindness.

While in Manchester, she was very involved with the Manchester Community Church. She was the church treasurer for several years and especially loved working at the fairs, for which she made many craft items. During this time she made several lifelong friendships. Wherever she was, she was involved and engaged, hard working, and full of positive energy.

When Don’s parents moved from the family farm into the village of South Waterford, Don and Margaret bought the farm property and spent countless weekends and vacations there, tending a large garden and the tree farm Don’s father had begun. When not at the farm, Don and Margaret were often at Reid or Popham beaches on the weekends when the children were young. Margaret made beautiful braided rugs, oil paintings, and many of her children’s clothes and sweaters. She had a lovely voice and could often be heard singing.

Friendships were a priority for Margaret. For nearly 20 years she traveled every summer with a group of four ladies who became dear friends as they visited various historical places and shopping destinations in New England. She was a dependable volunteer at church, the polling stations, Head Start, and other places where she was always sure to find another new friend.

After Don’s death in 1989, Margaret moved near her eldest daughter in Brunswick and lived there for 15 years before moving to Chase Point Assisted Living in Damariscotta. Her seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren were a source of joy and pride – she loved having the younger ones come and stay with her at her house in Brunswick. As she had done with her own children, she spent many happy days with them at Popham and Reid State parks, at the family farm (now owned by son John’s family), and at local playgrounds.

Margaret was predeceased by her brother, Richard D. Dozier Jr. of Mt. Morris, Mich.

She is survived by a son, Steve Bell and his wife, Mimi, of Norway; a daughter, Sharon Bell and her husband, Eugene Bubar, of Brunswick; a daughter, Dozier Bell and her husband, Ken Greenleaf, of Waldoboro; a son, John Bell and his wife, Donna Marcotte-Bell of South Waterford; her grandchildren, John Bell and his wife, Tami of Cary, N.C., Tami Ireland and her husband, Larry, of Newton, Mass., Matthew Bubar of Woolwich, Margaret “Meg” Bell of Portland, and Allie, Mollie and Olivia Bell of South Waterford; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be held at the Waterford Congregational Church in Waterford on Sunday, April 11 at 1 p.m. A gathering of family and friends will follow at the Wilkins House in Waterford.

Arrangements are with the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home in Damariscotta. Condolences for the family may be expressed by visiting stronghancock.com.