Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In Memory -- Gertrude Mitchell Bell and Anna Mae Hedrick

I don’t usually do obituaries here, but there are two recent notable passings that I thought I should mention. Both were wonderful people, had been mentioned in posts in the past, and had long-time links to the area. In fact, between the two of them they had over 200 years’ worth of connections to Mill Creek Hundred.

Our first loss occurred back in February, when Gertrude Mitchell Bell passed away at the age of 103. She was the daughter of John C. Mitchell and the granddaughter of John Mitchell. It was John Mitchell who, in 1868, purchased the Cox-Mitchell House (aka Ocasson) on Old Wilmington Road east of Hockessin. Trudy grew up in Hockessin, long before it was the Hockessin we know today. When I had the pleasure of meeting her a few years ago (I think she was “only” 99 at the time), I swear she remembered more about the Hockessin of the 20’s and 30’s than I remember of last year. She was a sweet, kind woman, a trait passed down to the rest of her family. And speaking of which, I can report that the now 290 year old house will remain with the family. They have a great deal of love and respect for the home, which bodes well for the future of the house I call The Birthplace of Hockessin.

The second notable passing, occurring earlier this week, was Anna Mae Hedrick of Marshallton. Ann had just turned 100 in January, and with the exception of the last few years in a nursing home had lived her entire life in her beloved Marshallton. She grew up, fell in love, and raised her family all there in the village which she saw greatly change over the course of her life. As she tells it, Marshallton was “out in the country” when she was young. I first met Anna Mae through the Friends of Brandywine Springs, where she was the last remaining member of the group who had actually attended the amusement park. She enjoyed showing off the scar on her arm that she got from the slide in the funhouse. She was also a longtime member of the Mill Creek Fire Company, even driving the truck during World War II.

Both of these women had a special connection to their particular corners of MCH, and their presence will be sorely missed. My condolences go out to each of their families, but both can take comfort in knowing the effects that each of the special women had on countless others during their enviably long lives.

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