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Thursday
Mar282013

Ten years and one year

Dates and facts hang around in my mind. On March 28, 2003, I was on the bench at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Little Rock, preparing for a recital, when I received the call that my father had died. That was exactly ten years ago today.

Today is also the 70th anniversary of the death of my homey Sergei Rachmaninoff. Today is also exactly one year and eight days after my mother’s death. With the exception of my birthday, the month of March has become a gloomy one.

I wrote both my parents’ obituaries. Mother’s is in another post from a year ago. Now here’s Dad’s:

Mr. Donald Ray Bell of Statesville, NC, died suddenly Friday, March 28, 2003. He was born Nov. 25, 1936, to William Clyde and Oma Travis Bell. He was raised in Iredell County, graduated from Scotts High School in 1955, and as a youth attended Diamond Hill Baptist Church. After training at the Nashville Auto-Diesel College and completing training with the N.C. National Guard, Mr. Bell joined Bell Construction Co. of Statesville, founded by his father in 1946. He worked for Bell Construction for the rest of his life. Mr. Bell was married on June 25, 1960, to Judith Tilley Bell, who survives. Also surviving are two children, Talana Bell Wilkins and husband Mike of Dothan, Ala., and Dr. Joby Bell and wife Dr. Susan Murphey of Houston, Tex. Mr. Bell is also survived by his sister, Evelyn Bell Plummer of Winston-Salem; and twin sister, Dorothy Bell Davis of Lynchburg, Va. Several nieces and nephews also survive. Preceding Mr. Bell in death were his parents and three elder brothers Boyce, W.C. "Buddy" Jr., and Bruce Bell.

At the time of his death, Mr. Bell had been president of Bell Construction since 1987. He had retired from the National Guard in 1996 after serving for 38 years and attaining the rank of sergeant major. He sang in the choir and served as deacon for many years at Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville. He was heavily involved in set design and construction for the Statesville Easter Pageant and chaired the building and property committee for Front Street Baptist Church, where he was also a member of the Jabez Sunday School class. Mr. Bell was an active member of the Gideons International and a board member of the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department.

Funeral arrangements are with Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home of Statesville. The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today, March 30, at the funeral home. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 31, at Front Street Baptist Church, with the Rev. Gerald Bontrager officiating. Burial will follow in Iredell Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be Dwayne Bell, Billy Ray Compton, Ted Evans, Danny Johnson, Adam Lasarsky, Keith Netterwald, Stanley Parker, Danny Stikeleather and Lonnie Wooten. Honorary pallbearers will include Jerry Johnson, the Jabez Sunday School class, all deacons of Front Street Baptist Church, all employees of Bell Construction Co., and all personnel of the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department. Memorials may be contributed to Front Street Baptist Church, 1403 W. Front St., Statesville, NC 28677, or to the Gideons International, P.O. Box 148, Statesville, NC 28687.

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