Frank Sterling Bell

July 12, 1925June 17, 2013
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Frank Sterling Bell, 87, of New Bern, NC and formerly of Oriental, NC died June 17, 2013.

He graduated from Oriental High School and afterwards, moved to New Bern where he resided most of his life. He studied at the former Oak Ridge Military Academy and graduated from the U.S. Maritime Officers School in New London, Connecticut at Fort Trumbull. He served with the U.S. Maritime Services in the Merchant Marines which included extensive Mediterranean trips to Germany, France and Italy during World War II. Frank’s employment as a young man included shrimping, saw milling and saw filing. Later he was a poultry farmer and then owned and operated Bell’s Salvage Yard in New Bern for twenty years. He was a Shriner and a past master of Grantham Masonic Lodge No. 725. He always enjoyed a good round of golf with his buddies. His annual Thanksgiving family reunion was followed by the Turkey Tournament Golf Playoff and it was the highlight of his year. The front porch of his home will always be remembered as a five o’clock gathering place for his wonderful friends, neighbors, and his special lady, Nancy. We thank him for the many years of good cheer, humor, love and kindness. Frank is preceded in death by his wife of 34 years, Elizabeth “Betsy” Bell, his parents, Edison Carl Bell and Golda Wade Bell and a sister, Ruth Willie Spruill.

Frank is survived by three children, A. Carl Bell, Robin Bell Hicks and Ginny Bell Kesler, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 6:00-8:00 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at Cotten Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at the Blackwell Cemetery at 11:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2013 in Oriental. From New Bern, take Hwy. 55 E to Oriental, turn right on North St., and follow the lead of the funeral home staff to the cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Shriners Children’s Hospital 2900 Rocky Pt. Dr., Tampa, FL 33607-1460.

Online condolences may be made to the Bell family at


  • Visitation Wednesday, June 19, 2013
  • Graveside Service Thursday, June 20, 2013

Frank Sterling Bell

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May 1, 2017

I always admired Frank as a real man's man, funny light-hearted, and always with a welcoming smile. A true patriot and believer of freedom of speech, especially on the steps and porch of his "White House!" He is a mentor that is missed.

jeff williams

July 4, 2013

Frank I enjoyed going to your junk yard with my dad every Saturday. I was around 8 or 9 years old. That seems so long ago. Rest in peace my friend. Jeff W.

Jim Davidson

June 23, 2013

Carl (Ca-whooo!), Robin, Ginny. It is hard to believe we are "the Old Guard". I still remember your dad coming home every night carefully off-loading his barrels. What a fine man, always smiling. Good old days on the river. Baseball and football in the Jones's front yard (shooting crackerballs at night!), Jerry Hansen's towers. Stevie Wonder said it well: "I wish those days could come back once more." Condolences.

June 23, 2013

Robin and the Bell Family. Your father was a gentlemen in every sense of the word. I remember he looked for the GOOD in everything.

Edward Earl Coward

Andy Thompson

June 21, 2013

Carl and Family,
Nancy and I were so sorry to hear about the passing of your Dad. Frank was a true Southern Gentleman and genuine at heart. I remember so well the times I was in his company and how good he made me feel. Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this time.

Andy and Nancy Thompson

Connie Ware

June 21, 2013

Robin, Ginny and Carl,
It is with a smile on my face as I think of your wonderful family and how I so enjoyed being a part of it during our younger days. After I was married and came back to visit my mom and dad, I stopped by a few times and visited with your dad. He would invite me to sit on his porch and chat. We had a few laughs about all of you and our memorable times together. He would always ask me to come back and visit the next time I was in New Bern. I enjoyed our visits. I guess those are the times we have to remember! My dad just passed away in May and I was in New Bern for his funeral. I definitely know these are hard days. But we were all so Blessed to be part of such loving families. You are all in my prayers.
Connie Bowen Ware

Robin, I will be in touch.

Carol & Bill Teague

June 20, 2013

Carl, Robin and Ginny:
We were sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. We have many fond memories of him and will miss stopping by to say hello when we are in town.

Mary Jane Lee

June 20, 2013

Frank Bell was truly a Southern gentleman with irresistible charm, intelligence, and wit. His bright, twinkling blue, blue eyes will certainly be missed by all who knew him and sweet memories of wonderful times will fill our hearts forever.

Ruthie Tyson

June 20, 2013

Carl & family, I was deeply saddened to hear of your father's passing. Sorry I could not make it last night to hug all your necks. He was one of a kind & I will miss him a bunch. Good Memories for sure ..

June 20, 2013

Ginny,you are your family are key in memories of my childhood on Old Cherry Pt Rd. Every child should be so blessed with friends and a wonderful school and neighborhood.I am sorry you have lost your dad. I am sorry to have missed his services,it would have been so nice to see you children and share memories. Mary Bremer Dawson