Larry R. Bell

Larry R. Bell, 78, of Cobden, died at 4:24 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at his home.

He was born on Nov. 27, 1939, in Monticello, Ky., the son of Glen C. and Thelma Kinnett Bell.

He married Donna Roberts on June 17, 1961, in Carmi.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Donna Bell of Cobden; three daughters, Carla (Dave) Smith of Rochester, Kathy (Grant) Capel of Anna and Karen (Brad) White of Cobden; seven grandchildren, Laura (Luke) Fleisher, Ethan (Hope) Smith, Jonathan Smith, Lauren (Alex) Siegfried, Olivia Capel and Emily and Grace White; five great-grandchildren, Ari, Finnegan, Bingham and Vera Fleisher and Logan Siegfried; a brother, Bruce Bell of Anna; other relatives and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and by a sister-in-law, Jill Bell.

He was a member of the Church of Christ. In Carmi he was active with the youth. He was an avid competitor during his high school years at Carmi Township High School and at Morganfield, Ky. He was an exceptional athlete in basketball, baseball and football, receiving several awards and honors. As a teenager, he developed interest in creating Bradshaw Park for the youth to have a place to play baseball in that neighborhood.

He received his bachelor of science degree in education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and completed graduate coursework for a masters degree. He taught school for several years at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School before serving as an IEA UniServ director for 17 years before retiring. He was a dedicated advocate for teachers, public education and collective bargaining.

He was also a dedicated teacher and coach, leading the 1974 A-J Wildcat baseball team to state. He loved being part of the coaching staff for the traveling girls softball team, Southern Express. His teams often referred to him as “L. Bell.”

Before retirement, he participated in many Civil War reenactments and living history events. After retirement, he spent many hours working in his vegetable garden, coaching, fishing, taking photographs, researching family history, listening to music, traveling and barbeque competitions. His favorite activities were with his grandchildren. He was attentive to those who seemed to have challenges or obstacles in their way and did all he could to help them reach their potential.

The family will receive friends after 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Alto Pass Community Center to celebrate his life. Mr. Bell supported the UNICEF USA: KIND Desk and Scholarships Project to provide desks for students who otherwise wouldn’t have them and scholarships for girls in Malawi. Memorials can be made to the desk charity or to another charity of the donor’s choice.

To view the obituary and to leave online condolences for the family, visit

Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Cobden is in charge of arrangements.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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