Barbara Bell Capozzi passed away Oct. 21, 2018 with many of her family members at her side. She is survived by her dear husband, Rocco, known widely as Rocky, who she married at St. Jude’s Roman Catholic Church in Radford in 1969.
Also surviving are her children: Donna Speaks; Lee Capozzi, his wife, Shawn; Paula Davis, her husband Steve; and Ben Capozzi, and his wife, Elyse. She is also survived by five grandchildren: Tyler Speaks, Laura Speaks, Isabella Capozzi, Lorelei Davis and Lulu Davis. She is also survived by her sisters Ileta Scott and Linda Palmer.
She was preceded in death by her brothers Waitman, George and Ben Bell; and her sister, Francis.
Barbara was a life-time resident of Montgomery County. She was very active in her community. A volunteer at the Literacy Center and at Christiansburg Elementary School, she helped with eye exams and quietly donated eye glasses to children who could not afford them. She also donated complete dinners to families in need especially during the holidays.
She was a strong advocate for the preservation of historic buildings. She and her husband purchased and renovated their current home, circa 1900 on East Main Street in Christiansburg. She was a board member of the Montgomery County Humane Society and of the Montgomery Museum and Lewis Miller Art Center. She was instrumental in the purchase of the present museum and property. Her husband built the museum’s gazebo.
For more than a decade, Barbara opened her home for fundraisers supporting the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and the Montgomery County Museum and Lewis Miller Art Center entertaining hundreds of guests with ensemble groups, piano music and elegant dinners donated and prepared by board members and served by her family. These dinners raised thousands of dollars to pay off the museum’s mortgage.
Barbara was a great supporter of local artists and filled her home with a collection of their works.
She began working at a very early age and had a diverse work experience that included work at the garment factory in Radford, as a glass worker at Corning – in 1964, she was the ninth employee hired and she met Rocco at that time. She was a salesperson at Thalheimer’s in Roanoke and a real-estate agent for three local agencies. She and Rocco then opened their Main Street home as The Evergreen, the Bell-Capozzi House, a bed-and-breakfast inn, which they operated together for 20 years.
She always strove to improve herself, attending the prestigious Protocol School of Washington, to be a tea and etiquette consultant and teach classes in those subjects at the inn.
Barbara loved decorating, entertaining and was a great cook. She was a consummate hostess. Many guests became life-long friends. As a real-estate agent, she delighted in finding just the right home for her clients.
Barbara had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and was a voracious reader. She amassed an extensive home library of thousands of books encompassing every genre. She kept books on every available surface and needed more shelves built every year to accommodate her passion. An excellent writer, she wrote poems and completed a moving short story called “The Book Signing”.
She had a natural grace and sense of style and was sometimes asked by local businesses to model their clothes at various events.
She loved the beach and always managed to find the prettiest shells and sand dollars. She could discover a four-leaf clover in any patch. And she won at bingo much more than could be statistically expected. Daisies were her favorite flower. She always had big dreams and a big heart. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Donations to the Montgomery County Humane Society in her name are welcome.