BETHANY COLLEGE MOURNS LOSS OF VALUABLE ALUMNUS, TRUSTEE

 

BETHANY, W.Va. — Charles D. Bell, alumnus and member of the board of trustees at Bethany College, passed away Monday, September 04, 2006 at his home in Wellsburg, W.Va.

Bell was born in McKeesport, Pa. in 1923. A member of the class of 1945 at Bethany, he graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry. Following graduation, Bell served his country as a first lieutenant in the Army during World War II. He then went on to earn a J.D. from the University of Michigan.

After spending two years in Chicago, specializing in patent law, Bell returned to Wellsburg, W.Va. After opening a private practice, he served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Brooke County for more than 21 years.

In 1953, Bell was appointed secretary of the Trustees at Bethany College and Attorney for the College. He was elected a Trustee in 1956 and during his tenure; Bell would work with seven presidents and two interim presidents. He continued on as secretary until 1976 when he became chairman of the board, a position he would serve in for more than two decades. After stepping down from chairman in 1997, Bell continued to serve his Alma Mater as a Trustee and Chair-Emeritus until his death.

Speaking of the former Board Chairman's distinguished service, Bethany President G. T. “Buck” Smith commented, "When Chuck Bell was first elected to the Board of Trustees at age 33, he was among the youngest college trustees in America. His nearly 50 years as an active trustee, including 21 as Chairman, is almost without parallel. The entire Bethany community is richly blessed because of his long years of devotion and leadership."

Recognized on numerous occasions by Bethany, Bell received the Bethany College Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Service to Alma Mater in 1971 and was honored with a Doctor of Laws honorary degree from Bethany in 1999.

An entrepreneur, Bell and his law partner, Park McMullen developed and co-owned Highland Springs Golf Course in Wellsburg. He also served as director of WesBanco-Wellsburg, director and secretary of Banner Fibreboard Co. in Wellsburg and director and president of the West Virginia Association of Independent Colleges.

An active member of the community, Bell also served as president of the Ft. Steuben Area Council of Boy Scouts and as vice president of Region 4, Boy Scouts of America.

Bell retired from a 53-year career in law in 2005. He is survived by his wife Marjorie Wilt Wicks Bell ’40, eight children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Services will be held at Bethany Memorial Church on Thursday, September 7, 2006 at 11 a.m. with Pastor Sarah Webb officiating.

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