Bell, Charles Reid (Charlie)
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of Scottsdale, AZ passed away on November 7, 2012 at the age of 88 following a brief stay in the hospital. He was born on August 9, 1924 to Frank Fairfield and Willie Maude Wilson Bell in Fresno, California. As a young man he helped his father build a family cabin at Dinkey Creek, north of Fresno in the Sierra Nevada, which became the yearly gathering place for the Bell family vacations. Like many of his "Greatest Generation", Charlie enlisted in the US Navy at age 18 and served for four years in World War II in the Pacific Theatre aboard the USS Pollux. His navy experience has been the source of countless family stories of history, heroism, and laughter. During the early years of the war he attended Fresno State College and the University of Texas. After the war he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Industrial Engineering and was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity. Soon after college he married the love of his life, Janice Olive Polson, with whom he was married for over 63 years.
Charlie was successful in business as he was in life. He joined Producers Cotton Oil Co. in 1949 as a Gin Manager Trainee in Fresno, eventually rising to the position of Vice President & General Manager of the Arizona Division. He had a distinguished career in the cotton business working closely with the many farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness people during Arizona's post-WWII boom period. He served as President of both the Arizona and National Cotton Ginners Associations, and received the National Ginner of the Year Award. He was recognized by the University of Arizona with the Distinguished Citizen Award and the Award of Merit for his countless hours of service to the Agricultural College. He also served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the School of Agribusiness at Arizona State University.
Charlie continued to serve the industry after retirement. He was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to serve on the U.S. Lemon Administrative Committee. He also served as a consultant to The World Bank with assignments in Egypt and Uzbekistan to improve local cotton production methods and the privatization of cotton ginning in those countries. Throughout this time Charlie also established a 660 acre citrus farming operation in Yuma, Arizona and served on the Board of Directors of Associated Citrus and Dole Citrus cooperatives.
Charlie was a sportsman and eager participant in many activities. He enjoyed golf, skiing, fishing, dancing, hiking, traveling, and spending time at his summer home in Flagstaff. He was a longtime member of the Phoenix Rotary 100, Valley Presbyterian Church, Phoenix Country Club and Aspen Valley Golf Club in Flagstaff where he relished spending time with his many friends.
He is survived by his wife, Janice; daughter Lauren Bruns; sons Randal, Gregory (Joan), and Jeffrey (Pamela); sisters Thelma Anderson and Fritzie Bell; ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Private services will occur in December at Valley Presbyterian Church, Scottsdale. In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to the Salvation Army, Southwest Division, Attn: Dev. Dept., 2707 E. Van Buren St. Phoenix, AZ 85008, www1.usw.salvationarmy.org or other favorite charity.
Charlie Bell epitomized a life well-lived and he serves as an inspiration to his family and friends.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 11, 2012