Fred Marion Bell Jr.
Riviera - A Memorial Tribute A Celebration of Life
Fred Marion Bell passed away peacefully on Monday, July 27, 2020, with his wife, Julia, at his side. He was 86 years old. On March 12, 1934 in Denver, Colorado, Fred was welcomed into this world by his dad, Fred Marion Bell, Sr., mother, Margaret Belle O'Connor and his older sister, Freda. Fred spent most of his younger days growing up and going to school in Raton, New Mexico. He graduated from High School in Gallop, New Mexico.
After High School he worked with his Aunt, at a Restaurant, in Houston and then joined the Military. Fred enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Bliss as a Radar Operator (Artillery Dept.). He was promoted to Corporal and during his tenure was awarded a National Defense Service Medal. In 1955, he was given an Honorable discharge. At that time he attended Howard Payne University in Brownwood, where he played football. Fred later graduated from the University of Houston with a BS in Health/PE Education and a Minor in Political Science then went on to get his MS in Administration Education.
Fred was always an Entrepreneur at heart. He spent 15 years as Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Austin, Texas; worked for the Road Runner Cab Company in Austin for 4 years; and owned and operated his own "Apollo Cleaning Company" in Austin for 4 years, all of this while raising his family. In the Educational field he was a Teacher and Coach in Georgetown; Principal of the Panther's High School in Liberty Hill and Teacher and Coach in Banquete, Texas. Before he retired from Banquete, he and Coach Sosa led the Junior High Basketball Team in an undefeated Season (the first ever).
After retiring, Fred opened a Restaurant in Portland, Texas (across the bridge from Corpus Christi) called "Coach's Kolache Kitchen" for 3 years. The food was delicious, for he always was a great cook! Because of his love for teaching, his success led him into a 2 year Adult Literacy Program in Corpus. While living in Corpus Christi he was voted by the community of Nueces County to serve as their representative in the Silver Haired Legislature. He was elected for a second term, therefore serving for 8 years.
On June 26, 1999, he married Julia Strubhart, at St. Patrick Church, where she was Principal of the School. Six years later he moved to Riviera in order for his wife to help care for her elderly parents. Fred seldom meets a stranger, so he made many friends after moving to Riviera. He even volunteered for a couple of years at our Thanksgiving Picnic in Vattmann, helping carve the Turkeys. In 2006, he was instrumental in reviving the Riviera Beautification Association and becoming President of the Organization-just in time to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Riviera, Texas in 2007. Then came the celebration, in 2010, of the 100th Anniversary of the Bank Building of 1910-which had become the" Riviera Historical Museum." At that time, he saw how the community worked together, with the RBA Association, to make both events a huge success. Being a "Yellow Dog" Democrat all his life, he was asked to be the Democratic Chair for Voting Precinct 33. Fred has held that title for 15 years.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Barbara Bell, the mother of his children, and a son, Roderick O'Connor Bell. Leaving behind to cherish his memory is his loving wife, of 21 years, Julia Strubhart, his 5 children, Brock Bell (Susan), Marnell Bell, daughter-in-law, Janet (Roderick Bell-deceased), Melanie Bell, Bradley Bell and Ralph Bell (Vikki); 10 grandchildren: Lela (Jerry) Bilbo, Ryan (Stacey) Burke, Maeghan and Mason Bell, Caitlyn, Allison, and Erin Bell, Connor (Crystal), Courtney and Colton Bell; and 4 great-grandchildren: Austin and Finn Burke, Simon Bilbo and Justin Bell--all of whom he dearly loved. Fred was a very loving, thoughtful and generous person. He was well known for his smile, great sense of humor and involvement in everything that was going on at the time. He never forgot the birthday of his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The gift of baking cookies (and he baked a lot) for everyone was the highlight of the Christmas Season. He will be dearly missed by his wife, family, students, friends and anyone who had an occasion to know and interact with him.
Due to Covid-19, no services are planned. We simply ask that you join with mine and Fred's family, wherever you may be, on Sunday August 9, 2020, in prayer and sharing to celebrate Fred's life through stories and memories of him. I'm sure he will be listening to all of them. Fred always valued the work I did at the Weavers of Love Soup and Sandwich Kitchen. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Weavers of Love, P O Box 935. Kingsville, Texas 78364 or to a charity of your choice
Arrangements are entrusted to Turcotte-Piper Mortuary, 205 General Cavazos Blvd. Kingsville, Texas 78363