Eugene Velten Bell
December 30, 1922 – August 30, 2018
Eugene Velten Bell, 95, of Beaumont and Spring, Texas, made his transition on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at approximately 12:30 AM. Born on Dec 30, 1922 to Montgomery Lee Bell and Grace Irene Velten Bell in Lincoln County, Corso, Missouri; where he grew up on a farm. He had three siblings: one brother and two sisters – Edmond Lee Bell, Elizabeth Frances Bell, and Grace Irene Bell. Eugene’s grandfather (also named Montgomery Lee Bell) served in the Civil War.
Eugene spent the last two and half years of his life in memory care assisted living. The family is grateful for the loving care of the earthly angels who cared for him at Spring Creek Village in Spring, Texas. They provided Eugene a comfortable life, loved and pampered him in the last years, months and days of his life. Eugene passed peacefully. He was well loved. He was a loving husband, father and father-in-law.
Eugene grew up on a very successful farm near Corso, Missouri. At seventeen he joined the Marines and was assigned to an engineering brigade operating and maintaining heavy equipment. He is a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec7, 1941; where he and approximately 500 Marines engaged Japanese Zero torpedo bombers from a parade ground. After their bombs were dropped the Zeros had to climb out over a parade field where they received fire from the 500 Marines lying on their backs. Eugene lost two fingers on his left hand at Pearl Harbor when working on a gear assembly during black-out conditions. He later spent time in the South Pacific (based out of Wellington, New Zealand) delivering fuel via barge vessels to various South Pacific islands in support of ongoing military operations. During this tour he experienced occasional sniper fire, but was never wounded. One war story he would tell was when he was ordered, at Pearl Harbor, by a Marine lieutenant to move a large pile of rocks; he explained to the lieutenant that doing so would more than likely cause the rock pile to collapse on him and the bull dozer type machine used to move the rocks. The lieutenant insisted and Eugene was ultimately covered up to his neck in rocks. The pressure of the rocks on his chest made it almost impossible to breathe; fortunately five or so Marines immediately came to his rescue and got the rocks off so he could breathe. The dozer was ruined and the lieutenant was reassigned. After the war Eugene bought an Indian motorcycle and sometime later a Harley Davidson motorcycle to explore California. He drove a dump truck delivering rocks to San Simeon (Hearst Castle). He spent two years at Cal Tech in San Luis Obispo studying mechanical engineering. While at Cal Tech he spent too much time playing chess. Students lined up outside his dorm room to take him on. Eugene left Cal Tech without finishing his degree. He had a short stint with the government as a civil servant doing something with machinery. At some point he was a large crane operator, a job he enjoyed since it took a fair amount of hand-eye coordination. He ultimately secured a position as a manufacturer’s representative for a large rotating machine manufacturing company. Over the years Eugene worked for Ingersoll Rand, Worthington, General Electric, United Technologies, and Elliot. He retired from Elliot after 20 years or so and then did rotating machinery consulting until he was in his mid 80’s. He was highly respected and sought out for his expertise in the turbo machinery field. He proudly and joyfully shared countless stories about his experience as a “pig iron” man. Eugene had a natural aptitude for the work he did and was passionate about it. He was genuinely a reciprocating engine, gas and steam turbine engine, and compressor expert. He had a fair amount of tools that he designed and built to assist him in his work. If it was mechanical, Eugene could tell you what was wrong with it and how to fix it. As his son, I would occasionally accompany him to a turn-around in a petro chemical plant. On one occasion this young man approached me and told me “your dad knows more about compressors and turbines than anyone I have ever met, he’s truly amazing”. Eugene consulted on a compressor and steam turbine assembly turn-around at Disneyworld in Florida when he was approximately 68 years of age. When he was at least 85, Disneyworld gave him a call and asked him to come back and oversee the turn-around once again; he declined since, by then, he had retired. Even so, he still took calls from folks he knew at plants that needed his expertise. What a gift to be truly talented at your work, I always admired him for that. I never knew him to not have a job, except for one time, when he lost his job on Christmas Day. His boss called him and gave him the axe. Even so, he got another a day or two later. Eugene loved Texas and appreciated the opportunities it gave him. In 1959 the family moved from Fort Worth to Beaumont; where Eugene worked at a natural gas distribution terminal in Vidor, Texas. He worked evenings where he could take mechanical engineering classes at Lamar Tech during the day. I remember him staying up late with a friend studying calculus. I believe they both made A’s in the class. He never finished his ME degree, but that was OK because he had a combination of hands-on experience and theory that really helped him stand out in his chosen profession. He was also a mentor and helped significantly improve, at least, two people’s lives by taking them under his wing and showing them how to work on rotating machinery. He truly loved his work, he study it on his free time, and made a good living at it.
Eugene was a generous man and a man who kept his word. Dad promised my sister (Cindy) he would buy her a brand new 280Z if she made straight A’s all the way through high school. She did and graduated salutatorian of her class, so he bought her a brand new 1976 Datsun 280Z. He put Cindy through college and law school, and always was there for his family financially (and emotionally, albeit a bit harder for him). He bought a brand new 1966 Mustang and let me drive it, during my high school years, like it was mine. He bought me a brand new 1971 MGB when I was 20; I paid $800 back and after I got out of the Army he told me to keep the $2K I had saved to pay off the car. He was a simple man in a lot of ways and a “man’s man”, Semper Fi (Always Faithful); he was humble, and believed in being frugal, and always doing the right thing. He took care of my mother, my sister, and me. He invited me to live at home for two years when I was 32 so I could finish my degree at Lamar University. As we all do, Dad had a side of him that could be self serving and harsh, but he was truly a wonderful father who never let his family down. Dad, Laura Jean and I love and miss you and we know you are in heaven with Jesus and the Heavenly Father.
Eugene is survived by; his son, Timothy Lee Bell; and daughter-in-law, Laura Jean (Brzozowski) Bell. He was preceded in death by his wife, Hulene Mavis Dittrich Bell, parents, siblings and daughter, Cynthia Lynn Bell. There will be a formal memorial service at the Houston National Cemetery on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 at 11:15 AM.
To leave the family online condolences, please visit www.forestparkthewoodlands.com.
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Eugene Velten Bell
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September 19, 2018
Dad we miss and love you. Thank you for always being there for your family and for making our lives better. We will see you in Heaven one bright and sunny day.