Charles G. Bell

Belgrade, Maine


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BELGRADE -- Charles G. Bell died peacefully on Christmas morning at his daughter's home in Belgrade, after several years of declining health.

He was born on Halloween 1916 in Greenville, Miss., the son of Judge Percy and Nona Bell.

His lifelong passion for astronomy, geology, poetry and...

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A final word of condolence to the Charles G. Bell extended family, a poem in quote marks dedicated to his memory I did in 2012 on the idea that a seed has to die before new life can come from it. I had Lake Willoughby in winter in northeastern Vermont in mind when writing it. The title in Latin means 'Because Love Is.'

Title: "Quia Caritas Est

What is love if not granite lake
whose waves still into sheets of ice?
Fired desire as quenched for your...

Charles Bell with his grandson Kurt Leinenweber, Danby, Vt. , 1962

Mr. Bell, as I called him when I was a student at St. John's 1960-64, had the gift, and willingness, unusual at that time, to connect emotionally and warmly. To me, a youngster in turmoil, he was perceptive, gentle, kind, thoroughly decent and ethical, and knowing he probably had navigated turbulent waters himself and seemed actually happy was a great comfort and encouragement. I shall always cherish his memory, and his and Danny's hospitality to us students.

It is with great sadness that I read of the death of Charles G. Bell. He was a profound influence on me during my formative years, when he taught humanities at the University of Chicago. I can't count the wonderful evening hours I spent at his home on Woodlawn Avenue, doing group readings and watching his then embryonic sound and light presentations.

Poet, philosopher, humanist... The world is a smaller place without him.

I am gratefully thinking of Charles and Danny and their family, his poetry and lectures on Art, their kindness and bounty of spirit so generously shared with me and so many others.
A true poet, he will be missed and with us at the same time.

Charles Bell was my great uncle. He was the brother of my mother's mother. I have many fond memories of him from my childhood. Probably my favorite memory is of him telling the southern folklore stories of Uncle Remus in our living room in Maryland. Like many others, I was in awe of him...his brilliant mind, his boundless energy, and his quick wit. His daughter, Nona Estrin and I share the same name, that of his mother. I feel eternally connected to him.

I discovered Mr. Bell's Tuesday night showings of Symbolic History, Through Sight and Sound my Sophomore year at Saint John's College; and went to as many as I could in the years that followed (there were months where I made it to every one). I can still recall his lightning-quick reflexes unjamming his ancient carousel slide projector with a ready-at-hand plastic kitchen knife; and of course, his unhesitating, brilliant fluidity at weaving together ideas, concepts, images, music, and verse...

While at St. John's College, I had the pleasure of being in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mr. Bell. He did push-ups for fun and read Dante in Italian. We were in awe of him. Thank you, Charles, for being an inspiration.

We were flooded with happy memories when we read of Charles passing - so many wonderful lectures, great hikes, stirring seminars, delightful dinners, great conversations and stimulating ideas. We are so, so lucky to have known both Charles and Danny, and we give thanks for their lives and their openness to new friends like us. Kathy McIntosh and Sam Adams