Louise became good friends with her future husband, Carl G. Belcher, while at Shurtleff College. She recruited him for a drama production because of his excellent singing voice. Their course work was interrupted by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Carl married Louise Ellen Lock on March 11, 1944. Carl was called to active duty in the U.S. Army March 9, 1944, and served in the Pacific until 1946.
Louise E. Belcher is survived by her sister, Dorothy Marie Fry; and four children, C. David Belcher, Dennis Belcher, Karen Gelbard and Martha Garton.
Her first career was as a country school teacher in Jerseyville, Ill., and her second career encompassed raising their four handsome children in Alton and Godfrey, Ill. She was faithful to her church, the public library, scouting, Camp Fire Girls, and the Alton Civic Orchestra. She also was active in politics serving as a delegate to state and national Republican conventions and served for 13 years as a judge of elections. Additionally, Louise was a Sunday school teacher and deaconess of the Upper Alton Baptist church for many years. She also volunteered as a tutor in the Alton public schools and served as the president of the PTA.
Officially, her third career began just before the college years of their children. She decided to become a real estate sales person with the Carl Belcher Real Estate Agency and wrote award-winning advertising for 15 years.
In 1985, Carl and Louise moved to New England and opened Martha Adele's Inc. in Greenfield, Mass. This was an upscale women's specialty store which her grandchildren loved to visit that was open until 1994. Although the store kept them very busy, Louise always found time to pursue her joys of painting watercolors, writing poetry, and designing and maintaining her large perennial gardens.
In 1997, Carl and Louise moved to Nevada, home of their daughter, Martha (March) Garton. Louise continued to devote her time to watercolors. Her paintings were collected by people from all over the world. Louise had a well received one woman art show at Cottey College in Nevada. She also wrote and illustrated several children's books. Also, she was an accomplished pianist and faithfully played weekly at the Barone Alzheimer's Care Center for eight years.
Louise E. Belcher was a woman who found beauty in everything. Her life motto was "brighten the corner where you are." She passionately believed the greatest expression of love is service to others. Her lifelong devotion to the arts and learning was an inspiration to her family and many who met her. She was a voracious reader of books, especially those about history, the arts, and gardening.
The loving 66-year partnership between Carl and Louise is an enduring example for their children and family, whom she considered gifts from God.
Louise Belcher was preceded in death by her parents; three siblings; a grandson, Ross Garton; and her husband, Carl. She is survived by her sister, Dorothy Fry of Stockton, Mo.; and four children, C. David Belcher and wife, Dotty, of Middlebury, Vt., Dennis M. Belcher and wife, Linda, of Hampstead, N.C., Karen L. Gelbard and husband, Nickolas, of Pacific City, Ore., and Martha (March) L. Garton and husband, Larry, of Nevada; grandchildren, Daria Carden, Kyra Ginalski, Debra Fruechtenicht, Rebecca Williams, Kristen Belcher, Nathan Gelbard, Anna Gelbard, and Megan Garton; and great-grandchildren, Eva and Priya Ginalski, Amanda Belcher, Kelsey Barry, Joshua Hayes, Sean Hayes, and Grayson Williams.
Funeral services will be graveside at Newton Cemetery in Nevada, Saturday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Ross Garton Memorial Scholarship Fund at Nevada High School or the Barone Alzhheimer's Care Center Activities Program. Contributions can be directed to Ferry's Funeral Home, 301 S. Washington, Nevada.
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