Bertha Rose “Bert” Schell


Bertha Rose “Bert” Schell died peacefully February 12, 2022, at Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center Bismarck with family by her side. She often told her family, “My name is really Berta – they got my birth certificate wrong”.

A Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 25 at Bismarck Funeral Home 3723 Lockport Street, with Deacon Tony Ternes presiding. A Livestream of the Service will be available on the Bismarck Funeral Home Facebook page.

Bert was born July 5, 1931, in Rugby, the daughter of Denis and Barbara (Volk) Schwan and had 11 siblings. She grew up on the family farm in Cando and attended country grade school. The family later moved to Devils Lake, where Bert attended St. Mary’s Academy, graduating in 1949, after which she worked for NW Bell Telephone Company.

Bert married Richard M. “Dick” Schell on July 15, 1953. They moved to Elizabethtown KY where Richard, upon enlisting in the U.S. Army, was stationed at Fort Knox. While in Kentucky Bert worked as a proofreader for the Hardin County Enterprise Newspaper.

In 1955 they relocated to Bismarck where Richard joined the N.D. National Guard.  Bert worked at City Hall as secretary for City Auditor Tom Baker, for N.D. State Outdoor Recreation Agency, and as Office Manager for the N.D. State Plumbing Board. Richard died Sept. 21, 2001.

Bert was a devout Catholic with an infinite spirit for giving. She enjoyed playing bridge and golf, volunteering at St. Alexius gift shop, meeting with Catholic Daughters and Catholic Ed groups at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.  Evenings she enjoyed a glass of wine, a bite of Ghirardelli chocolate, and the Bismarck Tribune. Bert was an active member of Catholic Daughters, American Legion Auxiliary, and the Bismarck Elkettes.

Bert was honored to be Godmother to many children, but was especially proud to be Godmother to her nephew Abbot Father Paul Mark Schwan of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Vina,  CA.

Most of all, Bert loved spending time with her Grandchildren and Family. For many years the family spent weekends at Lake Isabel where Bert graciously hosted many friends, coworkers, and the friends of her children.

Bert is survived by three daughters, Jean (John) Speelmon Gillette WY, Joy (Allan) Mastel Bismarck, and Judith Schell (Aimee Ammon) Florida, four grandchildren, Michael (Holly) Speelmon and Sarah (Kyle) Hettinger Gillette WY, Chontay (Davro) Clements Midland TX, and Samuel Mastel Idaho Falls ID, two greatgrandchildren Drake Speelmon and Kendal Hettinger. Her sister Frances Schwan Devils Lake, and brothers Maurice (Rosemary) Schwan Devils Lake, and Simon Schwan McVille ND, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Bert was preceded in death by Richard, her husband of 48 years, her parents,5 brothers and 3 sisters.

Bert was very loving and caring for her family, always encouraging her grandchildren to “do the best you can and be kind and understanding of others”.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Elks Camp Grassick, ND Veterans Cemetery, or charity of the donor’s choice.

Matthew 25:23 – Well Done Good and Faithful Servant


To view her memorial service, please click here.

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My memories of Bert, the house at Fraine Barracks, and the cabin are plentiful and rich. Jude and I used to go to the house after school and eat cookie dough! Bert always told us that we would get sick-we never did! The mischief that we got involved in was often unknown to Bert, or Dick for that matter! Bert was an elegant, selfless, understanding, and soft spoken woman whom I will hold dear in my heart. My condolences and love to the family.

Thank you my dear friend. She and Jo are likely playing a round of bridge with the angels right now! My condolences & love to you and yours for Jo. I love your post — this mischief you speak of, however, well you must have me confused with another ; ) Love you to the moon and back, Judith

I send my prayerful sympathy to Bert’s family! I remember Bert and Richard from my teaching years at Cathedral Grade School. they were so interested in their children’s education. I enjoyed visiting with her during the time I worked at St.Alexius and Bert volunteered in our Gift Shop. She modeled our value of hospitality so faithfully, truly receiving, welcoming all as Christ. May the God she served so faithfully now welcome her to everlasting joy and peace with her beloved Richard. God bless you all, Sister Susan Lardy

We had the pleasure of meeting Berta in New York in the late 1990’s. My wife Bonnie & I couldn’t wait to finally give her a hug. That evening was so much fun, filled with laughter & love.
Berta (& her late husband Dick) raised a wonderful, caring family. We are proud to call Judith, who currently cares for us in Florida, our Daughter in Law.
Berta Rose was a gracious, elegant, compassionate lady filled with faith, who always found a Catholic church, regardless of our location, to enjoy Mass.
We are praying for Berta, her family, and all those who, like us, hold her close in their hearts.

Thank you all for a lovely tribute to my mother. I am so sorry to have been unable to be with you all, but am of course there in spirit and in love — actually felt a warming presence and love surrounding Aimee, me, and her parents for whom we care here in the SE as we all joined in watching the service. Berta will forever impact our lives — thoughts and actions. Love lives on.

Bert was one of the kindest people I have ever met. She always had such a calm and beautiful presence. I have such fond memories of our times at the home at Fraine Barracks and of Lake Isabel. She was always so welcoming to everyone. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

We extend our deepest sympathy to the Schell family. Tim has so many fond memories of working with Bert at the State Parks office. She was truly a special lady.

Tim and Glenna Mueller

Joy, Allen and family: I am so sorry to see your mom has passed away! Mom so enjoyed playing bridge with her and working at St Alexius gift shop. My sincere condolences and May she Rest I. Peace 🙏🏻

Memories of Bert
Bert was a favorite of our family. The kindness she extended to our father was memorable. Our Dad and Bert were in the memory care home ,and together in the common areas. Her generous actions helped many in the memory care unit, but Dad was, we believe the happiest recipient of the group. Bert’s encouragement helped Dad have a quality of life that could not be matched by staff or our visits. Bert’s smile was infectious and her calm demeanor assisted Dad to interact in social activities. To see them gently dancing reminded all of the “joie de vivre” that they experienced as the time passed for both of them. They often watched video musicals and enjoyed the sounds together. Seeing them sitting in the “tv room” as a couple was a comfort.
I can recall arriving at meal time and sitting with Bert and Dad. She managed to guide Dad to eat well, as he became less able. We cannot forget Bert, and her gentle ways She shared her spirit with our Dad and our family. We felt lucky to know Bert. Dad would have agreed with a smile.
Kenneth Deeter Family