Thomas Ora Bell, 55, of Niceville, Fla., died Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., following a battle with cancer. Thomas Ora Bell was born July 1, 1957, in Owensboro, Ky., to Joseph Russell and Leora Ellis Bell, was raised in Rumsey, Ky., and was married to the former Cynthia Kaye Carter on Aug. 8, 1975. Tom had a passion for music, weather, sports, automotive restoration, and home improvement projects, but what he enjoyed most was spending time with friends and family. Tom's smile was infectious and his cheerful personality was cherished by all those fortunate enough to have spent time with him. He was always quick to aid those in need and his caring nature was demonstrated by his love of family and friends and service to his country.
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Tom served in the United States Air Force for over 20 years, including duty stations in England, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, and was honorably discharged as a highly decorated veteran. Following his military service, Tom pursued a career as a defense contractor, but enjoyed retirement with friends, family and his grandchild. Tom was preceded in death by his father, Russell Bell; and his wife, Cyndi Carter Bell.
Survivors include his eldest son, Keanan Bell, his wife, Caroline, and their daughter, Ellis, of Tampa, Fla.; youngest son, Kaleb Bell and his wife, Ashley, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; his mother, Leora Bell; four brothers, Wayne Bell, Jack Bell, David Bell and Ricky Bell; and one sister, Deanna McCoy, all of Kentucky; and a multitude of close friends and extended family in Kentucky and Florida.
Tom's surviving family members will be hosting a remembrance on Saturday, Aug. 3, from 2 to 6 p.m., at the Bell Family home in Niceville. Friends and family are invited to attend.
Mr. Bell is interred at Poplar Grove Cemetery in Rumsey, Ky. The family requests that expressions of sympathy take the form of donations in Tom's name to the Waterfront Rescue Mission in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., or to the Cancer Research Institute in New York.
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News on July 21, 2013