In the early hours of Thursday, March 12, 2020, Bill W. Bell, Sr. loving husband and father of four children went to be with the lord at the age of 78.
Bill was born on June 8, 1941 in Paris, TX to Kenneth and Mabel Bell. He attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina where he met his bride to be, Cynthia Buechner in 1959. They were married on November 26, 1960 and would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year. They raised four children, Jennifer, Jennalee, Jeff, and Billy Jr. (Bubba).
A natural born salesman, Bill never met a stranger. He commanded whatever room he was in with a jovial demeanor and boisterous, gravely laugh. If you already knew him, you knew within seconds you were in his presence. Had you not already known him, you soon would, and you’d walk away feeling happy to have met him. Never one to leave you without a smile, he always had a joke up his sleeve. In the event he didn’t he would come up with his own pretty quickly. The jokes he came up with on his own didn’t always have the strongest punch line, but he was sure to make up for that with flair, some funny voices, and hilarious faces.
On the water, Bill was an equal opportunity angler who loved to fish for whatever he could get to bite. One of his favorite things to do was tell fishing stories from his vault of thousands he’d collected over the years. Never untrue, but sometimes slightly embellished, Bill could entertain himself and whoever was listening for hours on end telling stories, acting them out, and giving every character in play their own unique voice (he had a particularly spot-on Gene Rader impression).
Whether it was fast pitch or slow pitch softball, Bill was a bruiser at the plate. His ability to hit towering homeruns will forever be remembered by teammates and opponents alike. He cherished his days of travel softball, especially the years he was able to play with his son Jeff, and son-in-law Mike. His love of playing softball eventually took a backseat to coaching baseball, and if you were a kid or a parent at Woodall Field in the 90’s you undoubtedly ran into Bill. As much as he loved playing ball, he felt a true passion and purpose serving the youth of Paris as a board member, coach, and steward of Breakfast Optimist Baseball. He truly adored every soul he was able to mentor and was steadfast in his duty to not only teach young men how to play the game of baseball, but how to be good, loving people. His zeal for life was only matched by the enormous love he had for his family.
Game well-played coach.
Bill was preceded in death by his father, Kenneth, his mother, Mabel, and his son, Jeffrey. He is survived by his wife Cynthia, his three children, Jennifer Thompson, Jennalee Kerr, and Bubba Bell along with their spouses Mike, Mark, and Helen respectively. He is also survived by his sister Kenna Pharr, and nephew Greg Bell, his seven grandchildren Staci Shackelford, Tabatha Ibarra, Jordan Thompson, Chelsea Leblanc, Madison Jackson, Aaron Bell, and Tyler Kerr along with their spouses, and his many great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. He also leaves behind his beloved dogs Daisy, Carly, and Templeton.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 14th, 2020 at Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home at 2 o’clock p.m. in Paris, Texas. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service beginning at 1:00 PM Saturday. Memorial contributions may be made to Lamar County Humane Association.