Bell Walter: 1926-2023
Bell Va Jean Rosine (Wagner) Walter, 97, of Miller/St. Lawrence, S.D., was called home to Jesus, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller.
A funeral service was held Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Community Church of St. Lawrence with Rev. Jim Hofman officiating. Burial followed at the St. Lawrence Cemetery.
Belva, as she was most well known, was born Aug. 18, 1926, to Gottlieb and Lydia (Maas) Wagner at the farm home in Menno, S.D. in Yankton County. Belva, her twin brother Lavern, and older sister Lillie, rode one horse to Bender County School, which at one time had 44 students and one teacher. She attended Zion Evangelical Church, 22 miles north of Yankton. Belva was baptized as an infant and as a teenager at the church’s revival she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and received a Catechism Certificate. She worked at Hanks Cafe in Menno, where the smell of chislic became permanently imbedded in her memory.
She married Jacob A. Walter on Sept. 28, 1947, in a double wedding ceremony in front of 200 people at the Freeman, S.D. gymnasium. In the ceremony, Belva’s twin brother Lavern, married Jacob’s sister, Phoebe, with older brother, Edwin Walter, as pastor. Jake’s 1941 Ford took the honeymooning couple to Chicago with a personal tour guide of Jake and Pheobe’s sister, Anne. The couples reunited in celebration of their 25th anniversary in Sioux Falls at Jake and Pheobe’s sister and husband’s restaurant, “Walt and Mary’s.” They spent their 50th anniversary on an Alaskan Cruise with their family.
In March of 1948, they moved to a farm, 5 1/2 miles north of Saint Lawrence, where they resided for 63 years. Belva worked on the farm, in the field, delivering calves, raising chickens, turkeys, guineys, ducks, and pigs. She also enjoyed canning, gardening, and feeding the family and hired men. Saint Lawrence Community Church was their spiritual family. Belva was a lifetime member of the VFW and active in the Ladies Auxiliary number 3214. She was a Sunday school teacher, a passionate bowler, and achieved a black belt in karate.
Remaining family holding her memories dear is her twin brother, Lavern Delmar; her two sons: Merle Gene, wife, Jodelene of Arvada, Colo., and Darrell Dennis, wife, Patricia Ann of San Dimas, Calif.; five grandchildren: Traci Jo Robinson, husband, Jason, Lena Jo Rodriguez, husband, Nic, Wagner Gene Walter, wife, Jamie, Nazaré Christiana Oliver, husband, Auston, Deandré William Walter; 12 great-grandchildren: Kali Michelle Kolin, husband, Brenden, Keegan Micheal Grubb, wife, Caroline, Beau William, Belle Lorraine, Luke William, and William Micheal Robinson, Abigale Hope, and Aiden James Hutchison, Madisyn Grace, and Kennedy Brooklyn Rodriquez, Brady Gene, and Jaelyn Rose Walter and a host of nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death are her husband, Jacob; parents: Gottlieb and Lydia Wagner; three brothers: Emil, Robert, and Elmer Wagner; and two sisters: Lea Guthmiller and Lillie Kirschenman.
Belva’s first great-great grandchild, Isaac Gideon Kolin is expected in December, which would be a fifth generation milestone.