Danelle Lytle Bell

In Memorial

Danelle Lytle Bell, 65, of Riesel, a devoted mother and grandmother, passed away Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Scott and White Trauma Center in Temple.

Visitation: 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at Lake Shore Funeral Home

Funeral Service: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 9, at Lake Shore Funeral Home with Pastor Jim Cox officiating

Burial:  will immediately follow via an escorted procession to Riesel Cemetery

Danelle was born May 8, 1953 in Omaha, Nebraska to Truman W. Lytle and Violet Eileen (Fithian) Lytle. She grew up near Weeping Water, Nebraska and attended Fairbury Jr. College and Peru State Teachers College where she played volleyball on scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. Danelle moved to Texas in 1985 and taught Jr. High and High School in public and private schools. She coached many sports including volleyball, basketball, track and soccer. After retiring from her teaching career, she baked and cooked for the Cameron Park Zoo and the Waco Airport Cafe. She loved baking for friends and family and catering for various functions.

Preceding her in death was her beloved father; grandparents; several cousins; and her aunts and uncles.

Danelle is survived by her mother, Violet (Fithian) Lytle; son, Ryan Miller and his wife, Sueanne of Riesel; son, Cameron; sister, Denise (Lytle) Stephens and her husband, Sean of Auburn WA.; sister, Dawn (Lytle) Holmes of Mart; grandchildren CJ, Zachary, Zoey, Zerik, Dante and Skyler; nephews, Spencer Holmes, Andrew Stephens, Josh Stephens, Jenna (Stephens) Roos and her husband, Daniel.

Pallbearers will be Ryan Miller, CJ Warner, Sean Stephens, Andrew Stephens, Joshua Stephens and Spencer Holmes.

This is a Tribute to Our Big Sister

Our beautiful sister has always been a protector of sorts. I remember in First Grade there was a set of twins in my class….Roy and Joy. The rumor was, around first grade, that their parents pinned them up to the clothesline by their ears and beat them. Roy was exceptionally “aggressive” when lining up for lunch or recess. One day while lining up, he just hauled off and hit me in the middle of my back. I milked it for all it was worth and on the playground, my big sister Danelle and her friends were twirling batons. Naturally, I ran up to her in tears and told her the story. It was quite a sight seeing Roy running all over the playground for his life, with 5 big girls and their batons chasing after him the whole recess. Roy never bothered me again!

As we grew up, this protective, sharing, caring, personality of my big sister never left her. She would give her best and her last for others. Danelle brought homeless people burgers and even took them to interviews and doctor appointments. She was so concerned that they were put out of the shelters onto the streets during the day, rain or shine, and that the library and fast food restaurants were turning them away. She befriended a brother/sister couple whose home had burned down without insurance and then their beloved mom passed away, so they were taking care of each other and on the streets in the rain and cold a lot. Danelle got them rolling-bags so they didn’t have to carry their belongings on their backs and she took the sister to an interview at a fast food restaurant. The sister of the duo worked excitedly for a couple of weeks there, and they were saving up for an apartment, but the restaurant found out her address was the shelter and they fired her. A few months later the sister developed gout in one leg and went into the hospital, so Danelle would transport brother (who happened to be a Baylor graduate) to the hospital to visit. The brother now works at a great job in a store downtown and has an apartment. A dream of Danelle’s was to make a day center for homeless in Waco with a library, computer classes, and recreation so folks didn’t have to be on the streets all day. She also had a dream to someday build a retreat center in the country with tiny houses and equine therapy, counseling and job training. She also dreamed of buying her kids a farm, to experience the kind of family fun we had growing up. Danelle had a gift….her God-given mantel…if you will, passed down from our parents and grandparents…of generosity to all, compassion for the less fortunate, and hospitality for family and friends, with unwavering family loyalty.

You know, my big sister, Danelle, had so many talents…teaching, coaching, writing and editing for a newspaper in Nebraska and Cord Publishing Company in Waco. She was an avid reader, a sports enthusiast, all-state volleyball and track….she played in the USVBA league and city-rec volleyball for years after college, and really…just a jack-of-all-trades. I told her a couple of weeks ago my Suburban had a funny whirring sound and I think it needed oil. She told me to pop the lid, took one look, and said, “That’s not oil silly, that’s that belt right there!” She could change a flat quickly, she covered the chairs in my dining room AND my office. She helped the grand-kids with school projects and homework… BUT…her main claim to fame was baking! She knew what each family member’s favorite dish was, and made lovely things for me to take to school…and she called it her therapy!  We had a lot of fun in the kitchen…”Why are my cookie cutters not in the cookie cutter drawer?” “Oh, they are in a ziplock down in that cupboard behind the candles!” ….and why?!! We still haven’t found the ice cream scoop! Mom and I have decided we won’t starve. I’m pretty good at making oatmeal and mom makes lovely scrambled eggs. Our friend/sister from another mother, Dianna, reminded me the other day that mom makes a really mean potato soup, so we won’t starve…and Denise is giving me all her favorite recipes before she gets back on that plane!

Our Dad’s family motto was Joshua 24:15….”But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Dad was never ashamed of his faith. Along with many other hats, he was an adult Sunday School teacher and mom was a children’s Sunday School teacher. While we three girls were growing up, our parents instilled Christian values, Sunday school lessons, and the Word of God into our lives. In our teenage years, Denise and I went through our “moment of questioning” as many teenagers do in finding themselves… Are mom and dad right? Is this Word really true and inerrant? Are there other ways to God and what about all those wonderful Buddhists and Hindus? Daddy wouldn’t freak out, but he would just kindly point us to the Scriptures, probably pray like crazy behind the scenes, and trust God to lead us back to the truth. He slid me a notebook page of Scriptures at the dinner table one day, with a smile and a wink, and said…”You might want to check these out.” I did, and Dad was exactly right!

Danelle never had those moments of questioning that I’m aware of…the authenticity of God’s Word, or that there is one way to redemption… and that is through a Savior. She was not ashamed to share the gospel, either. She knew where her eternal home was and she knew she was headed there. In going through her things this past couple of weeks, we found notebooks of her prayers and Scriptures she was standing on for each prayer. We found Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. But your words have been stout against Me, says the Lord. Yet you say, “What have WE spoken so much against thee?’ You have said, it is vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance. We have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts, so that now we call the proud “happy” and they that work wickedness are set up, and they that tempt God are even delivered?”   

But then…they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His Name. “And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels, and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serves Him.” My sister is now a jewel in heaven.

And we found a list of grand-kids names with some amounts she wanted to bless them with and this scripture… Jeremiah 31:17 “There is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”  Her prayers were written out in her own handwriting and mostly pertaining to her kids and her grand-kids…that they would all continue to know the Word, and know that the Savior made a way to salvation and eternal life with God….that heaven is our real home and that her beautiful kiddos would be heavenly minded and homeward bound, too.

Through thick and thin, through illnesses, and relocations, and job changes, and Daddy’s home going…on mountaintops and through lots of valleys, Danelle’s belief in God being the only answer and the way to eternal life through Jesus, was settled in her heart. She was a praying Mom and a believing grandmother. This was her greatest reason for being on earth for 65 years. She has carried the mantle forward from Dad and Mom’s legacy…”As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Now the mantle is passed on to you kids. On this fallen earth, there will be lures and tricks of the enemy, and scientific theories that make sense, and wrong influences, and voices (maybe even scholarly professors) that say “Did God really say that? I don’t think that’s what He meant.” or “How could a good and loving Father let this terrible thing happen?” These are questions you will have to seek Him for yourself to know the answer. But if you seek Christ, He has promised to send His Holy Spirit who will take the things of the Father and show them to you openly. If you ask and seek Him, you will find Him. It’s up to you to settle it in your own heart…that God is a good God and He has made a way (only one precious way) for you to chose your eternal destination. That was Danelle’s biggest dream…for her kiddos to make a choice for Christ.

Oh, to be heavenward bound! We want that assurance for the whole family…and for all of you dear friends too. Would you honor Danelle’s memory by praying with us?

“Lord, we acknowledge You as our Creator. We acknowledge You as the one true God, and that you sent your beloved Son to exchange our sins for Your goodness and righteousness…to make a way to eternal life so we can call heaven our forever-home. We ask You to come into our lives…We invite You to show us Your ways by the power of Your Holy Spirit, and teach us the deep truths in Your Word. We worship You, Lord, and we ask and receive Jesus, the only Christ, as our Savior forever. Thank you. Lord, for this unspeakable perfect gift.  Amen

Now mom’s first-born, our big sis, Aunt Danny, Gram Nell is in the heavenly kitchens…probably making sticky buns for her whole golden street….maybe beside Daddy whipping up a batch of fudge (with no calories!) for the neighbors. It’s really neat that big sis gave Spencer a recipe box and a few of her favorite recipes, for a Christmas present. So, in memory of Gram Nell’s sticky buns, we left her recipe in a basket at the front. Feel free to take one after the service on the way out, and thank you so much, friends, for joining us in the celebration of our beautiful sister’s home going!  



Place of Service: Lake Shore Funeral Home , 5201 Steinbeck Bend; Waco, TX 76708

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dorothy Hamons

    Danelle was a lovely person, inside and out. She cared greatly about her family and friends. I am so glad to have had her in my life. She was a terrific mother-in-law to my daughter. I will miss her, very much! May she find peace and comfort in God’s kingdom, for she is in his hands, now.

  2. So sorry for your loss

  3. Elaine Lytle

    So sorry to hear about Danelle. She was always a sweetheart .

  4. Cameron miller

    This is her son Cameron…I can’t beileve this…..

  5. Jashlyn Davis

    I first knew Danelle when I was attending TSTC and she was a driver from the Rec Center who would take students who didn’t have a car or other means for transportation around the Bellmead area. I am not originally from Texas, nor did I have family there. I just wanted a better life for me and my son and I was scared of being all alone since i knew no one there. That was until I met Danelle and she took me to the store. She was a very sweet and kind lady who was not only loving, but spiritual as well; although she knew I wasn’t a religious person. We developed a friendship that carried on for a long time. I’ve even met her son, her grandson who was young at the time and her sweet mom. She even attended my college graduation and she was there for me when I was not feeling like myself and gave me words of encouragement to live by. A mother I always wished to have.

    Danelle was the sweetest person you’d ever meet. Her love is unmatched and can never be replaced. But now, my heart is broken to discover her death today. I wanted to tell her that I moved to California and became a successful author and artist. I wanted to tell her all the good things that has happened for me because she believed in me when nobody else would. I feel so broken typing this. I spent months trying to find her number in old phones only to discover that her old Facebook that hasn’t been active since 2012. I miss her even more now and I’m not even related to her. But that’s okay. Because she has taught me that anybody, regardless of race, etc; can become family.

  6. Hi Dawn and Denise. This is Lila Thomas in Fairbury, NE. I was so sad to learn of Danelle’s death. Judy Kluge called me. Danelle and I spent many hours together when she was a student at SCC in Fairbury Those were the good ole days. I remember all the cakes she would bring to the office. She always made them with applesauce so they were moist and very tasty. She and I even made a trip to Padre Island one spring break with the golf team. I remember she was a member of the volleyball team and she was referred to as “Big Red’. She was living in Fairbury when Cameron was a baby. She was a good friend and we shared many secrets. My deepest sympathy to your family.

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