BURLINGTON - Richard Samuel "Dick" Bell, 91, prominent local accountant, passed away Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, following an illness of several months.
A native of Georgia, he was born July 2, 1922, in Tattnall County near Reidsville, Ga. His parents were the late Dr. Felix Orton Bell and Zora Amanda Medford Bell. The family moved to Aberdeen, N.C. in the mid-1920s and then to Burlington in 1930.
In November of 1942, while a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bell enlisted in the U.S. Army
. His basic training took place at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Little Rock, Ark. After brief postings in Pennsylvania and Virginia, Bell was sent for staging in North Africa aboard a Liberty ship. He was then assigned as support for the headquarters of the 179th Infantry's 45th Division in Italy. After the battle at Salerno, he was wounded near Mussolini Canal. In October of 1944 he received a medical discharge.
Following his military service, he returned to the university where he graduated in February of 1945 with a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce. He completed an accounting degree through the extension program of LaSalle University and received his accreditation as a certified public accountant (CPA) in the 1950's.
On Sept. 20, 1946, Bell married the former Ruth Rebecca Hobbs of Mooresville, who survives.
Bell joined the late Roy D. Apple in the CPA business in January of 1953 and spent more than 40 years with that firm. He became senior partner in May of 1974 and retired in 1994. After retiring, he remained active in the accounting field and professional development for a career that totaled more than 60 years.
A member of First Presbyterian Church, he served as a deacon and an elder for many years. He was also a passionate supporter of The Gideons International and its programs of Bible distribution and evangelism. He often spoke to church groups and he was proud of the fact that he used no notes, accepted no honorarium and did not identify where he worked in his introduction because he didn't want anyone to think he was soliciting business. Bell was also active for many years in a group of Christian businessmen who met for lunch each Thursday at the Old Southern Grill.
Bell was a charter member of Boy Scout Troop 17 at First Presbyterian Church, and as a teenager, he earned the Eagle Scout award. He was a lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts.
He was a former member and treasurer of the Burlington Jaycees and an honorary member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In 1976 he was named Boss of the Year by the Burlington chapter of the National Secretaries Association. Then, in 1990, he was named Executive of the Year by the Burlington chapter of Professional Secretaries International. He was a member of the Burlington Rotary Club
and was a member and past president of the American Business Club. He was also an active member of the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out).
Survivors, in addition to his wife, include one daughter, Edith Medford Burchett and husband Duane of Burlington; two granddaughters, Lindsay Hoyle and Allison Hoyle, both of Florence, S.C.; and a sister, Amanda Bell Sparger and husband Jim of Asheville.
He was predeceased by his parents and a son, Richard Samuel Bell Jr.
Visitation will be held at Rich & Thompson Funeral and Cremation Service in Burlington on Saturday from 12:45 until 1:45 p.m. Graveside services will be held at Pine Hill Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at 2 p.m. Military honors and presentation of the flag to the family will be provided by the North Carolina National Guard and Ruth Ann Harris will sing a solo hymn.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be sent to The Gideons International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800 or to the Hospice and Palliative Care Home of Alamance–Caswell, 918 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215.
Condolences may be offered at www.richandthompson.com