Funeral services for Percy Lee Bell, Jr., 94, retired planter and ginner of Highland Plantation, will be held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 29 at First United Methodist Church in Greenville. He died Monday, October 26 at his home on Highland Plantation. Burial will be in Greenville Cemetery under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
He was born May 3, 1921 to Percy Lee Bell and Bessie Weilenman Bell and lived on Highland Plantation his entire life. He was a 1939 honor graduate of Greenville High where he enjoyed running track and competed in algebra and Latin competitions. He graduated with an Agronomy degree from Texas A & M University in 1943 where he was also a member of the National Scholarship Society.
He was voted Captain of Quarter Master Company A in 1942, while studying at Texas A & M, where he was also a Recreational Officer, Distinguished Student, Member of the Agronomy Society, and Social Secretary and Secretary/Treasurer of the Mississippi Valley Club.
The day after graduating from Texas A & M on January, 23, 1943, he married Wyldon Lois Vanham on January 24, and reported for duty in the United States Army on Monday, January 25. Bell trained at Officer’s Training Cadet School (OCS) at Camp Lee Virginia in Petersburg, Virginia, and completed Officer’s Training (OTC) as a First Lieutenant.
He was stationed in Front Royal, Virginia, where he taught pack training to the men who would be called to the Italian Campaign during World War II because they couldn’t use army tanks to ascend the mountains. He was then stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he taught basic training to soldiers. At Fort Benning he was Assistant to the Police and Prison officer and served as an Orientation officer, mapping the positions of the troops and keeping the men in the company advised on the progress of the war. In 1944, he was appointed to serve as an Honor Guard for President Roosevelt in Warm Springs, Georgia.
After receiving an honorable discharge from the Army as a First Lieutenant October 26,1945, he and his wife Lois returned home to Highland Plantation where he ran the family farm in partnership with his mother and brother, Andrew Weilenman Bell, until his retirement in 1987.
Throughout his lifetime, Bell served in many positions with local organizations. He served as Chairman of the Board (five years), Chairman of the Finance Committee, Head of the Usher Committee (fifteen years), and usher (fifteen years) for the First United Methodist Church in Greenville. He served as a board member of the Mississippi Drug Company, as an FHA Board member, and for 20 years as a board member of the Western Line School District. He was a member of Ashbrook Hunting Club, Swan Lake Hunting Club, and the Greenville Rotary Club, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow.
He was preceded in death by his wife Lois; son Percy Lee Bell III; grandson Percy Lee Bell IV; and brother Andrew Weilenman Bell.
He is survived by his daughters, Linda Lois Bell Elliott (Jim) of Dover, Arkansas; Sallie Rebecca (Becky) Bell of Greenville; and Susan Bell Shamoon (Jimel) of Greenville. He leaves six grandchildren: Kimberly King Elliott of Dover, Arkansas; James Allison Elliott III of Olympia, Washington; Rebecca Bell Gramling of Indianola; Katherine Adele Shamoon and Emily Anne Shamoon of Greenville; and Nathan Stiles Bell of Ashland, MS; six great-grandchildren: James Allison Elliott IV, Joseph Hunter Gramling, Hayden Alexander Gramling, Anneliese Grace Bell, Juniper Lark Bell, and Willow Eva Grace Bell.
The family is grateful for the special care given by Donna Mickel, Leslie Wise and Catina Thompson.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the services at the church. The family request in lieu of flowers that memorials be made to French Camp Academy, St. Jude Hospital, or the charity of your choice.