Lois Pell: From Rest Haven to her Haven of Rest

Loey Pell graduated from home to heaven this week at the tender age of 91. She was one of those rare, almost ethereal saints who lived from birth until near death in the same home. The youngest of 10 children and one of six sisters who never married but lived together with their brother Will, using their singleness to give them more time to focus on ministering to others. This remarkable family started several wonderful ministries, including Gospel Folio Press and Rest Haven Homes, where both my parents and Alan’s Aunt Annie spent their last years. Just to give you a feel for the quality of care this home provides, when my mother moved in (after breaking her hip and with advanced Alzheimer’s), I asked her how she liked being there. “I like it; it’s safe.” My dad joined her a few years later, and I asked him, “How are they treating you?” With a bright smile he responded, “If anything, they’re too good to me!” That speaks volumes both for Rest Haven and for Lois’s oversight.

Alan spent 10 years on the board of Rest Haven with Lois, and Alan and I spent 10 years serving the medical needs of the folks there. I was really disappointed when Alan’s full-time job became so demanding that we had to give up our little Tuesday afternoon clinic. I felt blessed every week. You can never out-give God!

John Bjorlie (among others) spoke about Loey. He mentioned many of her strengths and then (with a twinkle in his eye) went on to list some of her weaknesses: she was too believing, too forgiving, too gracious, too kind…you get the picture! People sometimes took advantage of her goodness. But, can you ever be too much like the Master?!

I’ll tell you my two favorite stories about her. They may be little known, because they’re my own, but they’re very indicative of the type of person she was. Shortly after we moved to GR, she discovered that I loved flowers and so invited me over to dig out all the little volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes I wanted! I think we have about 10 now blooming here and there around our yard each August as a constant reminder of how Lois’s love sprouted many new affections in others. Also, once when our oldest three boys were teenagers, Lois drove them somewhere. Now, mind you, she was probably already in her late 70’s or early 80’s. She got behind an “elderly” lady who was traveling below the speed limit, but Lois, as always, was in a hurry! She waved her hand in the air and declared, “Sleep at home, lady! We do!” She was not only a grand person, she was a total character too!  So, we will all miss her, but I bid her a fond farewell with her own words, knowing that she is at last sleeping at home in her eternal haven of rest!

“Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Psalm 107:30)

6 thoughts on “Lois Pell: From Rest Haven to her Haven of Rest

  1. Lois, as well as the other Pell ladies, were indeed very special. When I first moved to GR (Jan 1998), my first or second Sunday, someone asked me if I had somewhere to go for dinner after church. Then they told me to just show up at the Pell’s home. My eyes widened in shock. “Just show up uninvited?” I just don’t do that. Nevertheless, at that person’s encouragement, I did just that and was introduced to Pell hospitality. I walked into their large home and found a table set for about thirty and many people (and a little dog) milling about while the Pell sisters busily prepared the meal in the kitchen (allowing only a little help). And what a meal it was. I can’t remember what the menu was, but it was only overshadowed by the wonderful fellowship around the table.

  2. What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing that Wendy. 🙂 The Pell family was as open and hospitable as any family I’ve ever known.

  3. I can hardly believe that Lois Pell has graduated! She was such an icon. It was fun to learn more about her. And it’s wonderful to know that she is now enjoying a glorious reward in her Savior’s presence.

  4. I am another who has experienced the wonderful sweet love and gracious hospitality of Lois Pell and the Pell sisters. I don’t remember what the meal was but the fellowship was the most delicious. What a treat it was to sit at their table and hear the wonderful stories of their faith and the faith of their father and of their family. When I was looking for a Dutch Bible….it was Lois who went into the other room of her apartment and got me a Dutch Bible. When I opened it up, her father’s name was in it. I could not believe that she would give me her father’s old worn Bible. I said to her…”Lois, you don’t want to give me your father’s Bible.” Of which she said, “And what am I going to do with it…you have use for it”. I loved sitting and have tea with those dutch cookies and just plain being blessed by her fellowship. My heart was truly ministered to by Lois.

  5. when she ran the bookstore, you never just ran in for a couple minutes to check things out. One always had to plan to have a cup of tea and chat for a few minutes.

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