Catharine Ross Bell of Lewes passed away on Monday, April 4, 2022, at her residence after a lengthy illness. Cathy was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on Sept. 4, 1939, the daughter of the late James Jefferson Ross and Edith Mae Jones Ross. Cathy was a great-great-granddaughter of the former Delaware Governor, William H. H. Ross.

After her family relocated to Seaford, she graduated from the Seaford High School in 1957 and then attended Duke University where she graduated in 1961 with her BSN. 

Following school she returned to Seaford for a short period of time, where she married her husband Jim on June 24, 1961 before moving to Lewes. She taught briefly at Milford Memorial Hospital before taking a position at the Beebe School of Nursing where she taught for 12 years. Cathy then worked another 20 years as a staff nurse at Beebe, retiring in 1999 with 32 years’ service. 

Cathy never allowed herself to slow down and always kept busy. Throughout the years she had served as a Eucharistic Minister at All Saints Episcopal Church in Rehoboth. She also participated in the peer mentoring program at the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. She was a member of the Seaford Historical Society board of directors and served as a docent at the Ross Mansion in Seaford.

Cathy loved going to the beach to enjoy the sun and the water. She enjoyed watching college basketball and golf on television. She was an avid Duke basketball fan and was able to enjoy all the fan fare for Coach K’s last coaching season. Cathy and Jim also traveled the world and went to numerous national parks and many countries that included Switzerland, England, Ireland, and Australia.

Cathy will be remembered for her optimistic attitude, kindness, and perseverance. Friends and relatives will remember Cathy always sending them greeting cards on special occasions to let them know she was thinking of them.

She is survived by husband Jim Bell, to whom she would have been married to for 61 years this June. She is also survived by her son Greg (Allison) Bell; daughter Denise Iavarone; grandsons Scott Bell and Eric Iavarone (Rachael McDonald); granddaughters Sierra Iavarone and Morgan Bell Willey (Chris) and a great-granddaughter Harper Willey. She was predeceased by her sister, Claire Ross Oehm in 2020.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 20 at 11 a.m. at the All Saints Episcopal Church, 18 Olive Avenue, Rehoboth Beach. A visitation will be held on Tuesday, April 19 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, 16961 Kings Highway, Lewes, DE. Burial will follow the services at St. Peter’s Cemetery, Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc., 18977 Munchy Branch Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 or to the Bonnie Austin Professional Endowment Fund, C/O Beebe Medical Foundation, 902 Savannah Road, Lewes, DE 19958

Please visit Cathy’s Life Memorial and sign the online guest page at