Duane Vernon Bell, of College Station, Texas (formerly of McAllen), passed away at the age of 81 in Bryan on December 11, 2020. Duane was born June 17, 1939 to Everett Roy and Irene Mae (Ullrich) Bell in Mission, Texas.
Duane was preceded in death by his parents, step-father Maurice Kattmann, step-mother Jennie Bell, step-mother Jane J. Bell, brothers, Jerry Bell, Roger Bell, and step-brother Jody Jones. Survivors included his loving wife of 59 1/2 years, Sandra Gayle (Crisp) Bell, and their four children Terri Hollech (the late Pete), Doug Bell (Leslie), Sheri Walker (Rob) and Barbara Seals (Eddie); grandchildren Shelby S. DeReese (Dennis), Melissa H. Reynolds, Shawna Seals (Faust Bowerman), Matt Hollech, Lindsey Petitta, Derek Bell (Ashley), Amy Petitta, Brianna Hollech (fiance Brandon O'Neil), Jake Hollech, and Jennifer Bell; 9 great-grandchildren; brother Bill Kattmann (Cindy), step-sister Judy J. Mayes (Brady), step-brother John Jones and many loving nieces and nephews.
Duane grew up in McAllen and attended McAllen High School where he was active in the band, playing the baritone. His senior year, Duane, his mother, step-father, and younger brother, Bill, moved to Corpus Christi. Duane graduated from W.B. Ray High School in 1957, but he always considered himself a McAllen Bulldog and went on to attend high school reunions with his McAllen classmates. While at W.B. Ray, Duane met Sandra Crisp. The two dated for several years and married May 12, 1961 and soon began their family.
Duane attended Texas A&I College in Kingsville and studied engineering. After college, the Bells moved to San Antonio where Duane was employed with Goodyear Tires. A move to Bellaire in Houston followed and he was employed by Star Engraving. In 1968 the Bells returned to the Rio Grande Valley. Duane joined the family business of farming with his father, Everett, and older brother, Jerry. Bell Farms went on to farm in Penitas, McCook and Jim Wells County. Crops included grain, cotton, corn, peanuts and watermelons.
In the 1990s, Duane and Jerry, began developing sections of their farm land into residential neighborhoods in the newly incorporated City of Penitas. Commercial developments followed and continue to this day. Bell Farms has been an integral part of the growth of Penitas - through development, services, homes and jobs. Guided by niece Jeannette & John Womack and nephew Bob Bell, Bell Farms has thrived during the last two decades. Their support and love for Uncle Duane, the family and the business is appreciated beyond words.
Duane's lifelong passion was model trains. From a young age, he began collecting trains and shared his love for railroads with his family and friends. Lionel "O" and "HO" gauge trains were his favorite, and he was active with Rio Grande Valley Rails for many years. Photography and planes also captured his attention. He was an active lifetime member of the Commemorative Air Force. Family was Duane's ultimate passion. He was always involved with his children's/grandchildren's activities growing up, including FFA, band, dance, football, etc. You could always find him with a still or video camera in his hands capturing the moment and preserving memories.
Family and friends describe Duane as kind, caring, sweet, funny, loving, a role model...he was all of that and so much more. He loved God, his family and his friends. We love you, Dad, and miss you so much. We will carry on and remember you and Grandaddy Bell at family gatherings as we "Pass that Possum!"
Hillier Funeral Home of College Station is in care of services. Visitation will be from 12-12:30 pm, on Wednesday, December 23, 2020, at Aggie Field of Honor Chapel, followed by Celebration of Life at 12:30 pm, at Aggie Field of Honor. Pallbearers: Derek Bell, Doug Bell, Dennis DeReese, Jake Hollech, Eddie Seals and Rob Walker.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be planned for January in the Rio Grande Valley.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
12:00 - 12:30pm
Aggie Field of Honor Chapel
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
12:30 - 1:30pm
Aggie Field of Honor