VaDonna Marie Bryan Pell, age 98, of Carbon, Indiana passed away September 25, 2015 at the home of her daughter with her family present. She was born December 15, 1916 in Williams, Iowa, the daughter of Glen Willis Bryan and Dorothy Elizabeth Hofmann Bryan. At birth she weiged only two and one-half pounds. But, she was born with grit and determination, and God had a plan for her life.
She was raised in Dows, Iowa and graduated from Dows High School in 1934. In 1930, her mother, Dorothy, passed away. Later her father married Marie Leach Bryan. Marie was a wonderful mother to VaDonna and loved her as her own.
VaDonna came to Clay County, Indiana in 1938 to visit her grandparents, Pete and Anna Hofmann and stayed. She became a nanny and caregiver for several families in the Brazil area. Later in life she worked many years at the Clay Health Center in the housekeeping department. Before, during, and after her years at the health center, she was a caring caregiver to many relatives and friends.
Through the years, she was active in Order of the Eastern Star and served as Past Matron. She was also active in many organizations to support her children, including PTO, Band Boosters, and Mother’s Club. She was a member of the Lena Church of Christ and later the McKinley Hill Church of Christ. She enjoyed helping with 4-H sewing projects and always sewed for her family. Reading was a favorite pastime until she lost her sight in 1988. She then found the joy of books on tapes/CD, especially westerns. She was well known for her cooking and enjoyed making meals for her family and friends. Her family came first, and she had a deep-rooted faith that carried her through difficult times.
On September 21, 1943, she married Chester F. Pell. He, along with her parents, step-mom Marie Bryan, her brother Harold Bryan, and her son-in-law John Ray preceded her in death.
Survivors include her children, Harold Pell (Rose) of Brazil, Merle Pell (Barbara) of Noblesville, Rachel Fagg (Melvin) of Carbon, Bryan Pell (Linda) of Brazil, and Mary Ray of Brazil. Also surviving are 18 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, 10 great-great grandchildren. One great-grandchild will be arriving in December and two great-great grandchildren will arrive in a few months.
She was known as “Granny” by all who knew her. She had a very special Christmas tree. Each year the tree was put up on her birthday, December 15. The tree was decked with a red ornament engraved with a name for each family member. The tree was heavy laden, reaching way past 90 ornaments. Each family member was made to feel important and very special to “Granny”.
A service to celebrate the life of VaDonna will be held October 2 at 2:00 pm at the Lawson-Miller Chapel with Brook Reinoehl officiating. Burial will follow at Calcutta Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday, October 1, from 4 to 8 at the Lawson-Miller Chapel. If friends so desire, donations may be made to the Talking Book Library, Indiana State Library, 140 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204-2296 or to The WILL Center, 1 Dreiser Square, Terre Haute, IN 47807.