Lewisburg-Ramona “Rikki” Bell passed away on New Year’s Day, 2024, heading to her “next star.” She was surrounded by dear friends during her final days. Born in Richwood, WV, on Aug. 30, 1946, she was a part of the Hamrick family of Nicholas County. With a fierce independence, acute intellect, and a keen sense of truth, she moved through this world with a handful of grit and a heart full of grace. She is survived by her loving friends, her guitar Esmeralda, her cat Sweetpea, and a vast library of her writings and music.
As a young woman she attended Petersburg School of Nursing where she began making some of her lifelong friendships. Her nursing career spanned over 4 decades and took her far from her home state of WV. Rikki spent much of that time in California using her endless compassion to care for patients as a surgical nurse.
Music was always her passion. As a child, Rikki loved singing and was often asked to perform. While working as a nurse she played guitar and performed locally. She eventually pursued her lifelong dream of a musical education; first graduating summa cum laude from Berklee School of Music then receiving her MS from Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA). She became a singer/songwriter and recorded a CD of original songs entitled “This Curious Heart.” After graduation she continued to collaborate with staff at VCFA, composing numerous string quartets and duets for the violin.
In addition to her music, Rikki exercised her creative nature through her poetry, writings, and handmade quilts. Through her practice of meditation, Pilates, and yoga, she discovered a deep spirituality coupled with an appreciation for beauty. At the time of her death, she was near completing a memoir of her life; a story of overcoming a difficult childhood and life’s adversities. She was a resolute supporter of women’s rights, and human rights in general.
After moving around the country, the mountains of West Virginia eventually called her home where she spent many treasured years. Rikki left us with these parting words: “When the day is done and gone forever, and time to lay this body down, I know a place west of Virginia, in the mountains of my home.”
Friends are invited to a Celebration of Life for Rikki, Sunday, Jan. 28 from 2-4 p.m. at Carnegie Hall in the Museum Gallery room.
Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home in Lewisburg submitted the arrangements. Please send online condolences by visiting www.WallaceandWallaceFH.com.