Frances R. ‘Nanny’ Bell, former Baltimore County Public Schools teacher whose career spanned four decades, dies

Frances R. “Nanny” Bell, a former Baltimore County Public Schools educator whose career spanned four decades and who was also an artist, died of lung cancer at her Rodgers Forge home Friday. She was 93.

“She had much love for her family and friends,” said Haile Gibson “Gibby” Blatt Bell, her daughter-in-law, who lives in Glyndon. “She valued education so much, and it was a huge part of her life.”

Frances R. "Nanny" Bell liked to paint the seashells she collected on the beach.

The former Frances Rose Rinaldi, daughter of Angelo Rinaldi, a barber, and Maria Rinaldi, a homemaker was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where she graduated in 1947 from Eastern Senior High School.

Mrs. Bell earned her bachelor’s degree from Wilson Teacher College, which is now the University of the District of Columbia, and a master’s degree from George Washington University.


In 1951, she began teaching business courses in Baltimore County Public Schools and, during her 40-year career, worked at Milford Mill Academy and Randallstown and Kenwood high schools until retiring in 1991.

“Her passion for education and her students was unwavering, and she made a lasting impact on the lives of those she taught,” according to a biographical profile submitted by her family. “Her incredible memory allowed her to remember the names of all the students she taught, even in the years before her passing.”

A granddaughter, Mercedes Bell Bucelato of Stevensville, said, “Education was everything to her, and helping kids get into college meant so much to her.”

Mrs. Bell was always present at her two granddaughters’ soccer and lacrosse games at McDonogh School, and when a granddaughter played women’s lacrosse at Villanova University, she was there, as well.

“Her grandchildren were her entire world. Whenever she talked about us, her face lit up. She was so proud of us,” Ms. Bucelato said.

Mrs. Bell also liked attending football games and tailgating with her family at then-Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg.

She was an artist who enjoyed interior decorating. Because she maintained an Ocean City condominium, she liked to paint in oils and watercolors the seashells that she collected during long walks on the beach.


She was also an avid gardener with “a green thumb that transformed her backyard into a beautiful sanctuary,” according to the profile. “Her love for plants and potted flowers was apparent in the way she carefully tended to them.”

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At her beach home, she was also know for growing bundles of basil, which she used in her cooking.

“She was 100% Italian, and everything she cooked had fresh herbs,” Ms. Bucelato said. “But basil was her favorite, and every morning, she would be out there watering and pruning it.”

Mrs. Bell looked forward to a daily happy hour at 5 p.m. with family and friends. At these, she savored sipping one Svedka vodka martini — or maybe a second, family members said.

“She was very social and gregarious. Wherever she went, whether it was a doctor’s office or a restaurant, she wanted to know all about the people she met, where they went to college, what they were doing and their families,” recalled Ms. Bucelato.

Mrs. Bell’s daughter-in-law said: “Frances was a very independent woman who drove up until she was 90 and went to the beach every summer. She simply loved life.”


Mrs. Bell was a communicant of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen at 5200 N. Charles St., where a memorial Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to Ms. Bucelato, she is survived by her son, Arthur I. Bell III of Glyndon; another granddaughter, Nicole Bell McLean of North Roland Park; and three great-granddaughters. Her marriage ended in divorce.

For the record

A previous version of this story misstated when Frances R. “Nanny” Bell's funeral will be held. The funeral takes place Thursday at Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. The Sun regrets the error.