Russell Ray “Rusty” Bell, age 92 of Seymour was reunited with the love his life, Wanda, at 1:52pm on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at Schneck Medical Center when he left this world behind. He was surrounded by a family that loved him beyond words and will miss him terribly.
He was born on November 22, 1925 in Greenwood, Kansas to Henry Franklin Bell and Delila Henrietta (Lucas) Bell. On February 23, 1946 in Brownstown, Russell married the former Wanda Lois Cockerham who preceded him in death on January 25, 2015, less than a month short of what would have been 69 years of marriage.
Rusty is survived by his children, Edna (Martin) Pfoutz of New Whiteland and Elois (Kenny) Green of Seymour. Russell also leaves behind his grandchildren, Chris (Jenny) Pfoutz and Courtney (Jason) Albrecht, both of Indianapolis and Kendra (John) Harris of Seymour and Darla (Ben) Rorick of Cortland; 9 great-grandchildren, Kyle and Ryan Pfoutz, Paige and Maya Albrecht, (to whom he was known as Papaw Taco Bell), John Jr. (Johnny) and Kenneth Russell (Rusty) Harris and Brayden, Bryce and Brennen Rorick.
The last of 9 brothers and sisters, he was preceded in death by his wife, parents, brothers Irvin, Leo, Carl (June) and sisters Lillie (Bill) Smith, Mildred Nielsen, Lenora (Noni) Fleetwood, Zelma Idewine and Faye Price.
Drafted into the Army in WWII, he overheard soldiers talking about taking a test to get their high school diploma, so he decided to go to that the test with them. Passing with flying colors, they were unsure if they would give him a diploma because he hadn’t gone to high school at all and therefore, didn’t qualify to take the test. Because his score was so high, they presented him with his diploma anyway.
A hard-working man, he worked for Arvin’s in Seymour for 31 years until it closed. Proving that no one should never say never, he swore that he would never set foot in that building again. He was later hired on at Cummins as a security guard and was sent back to the old Arvin’s plant after Cummins bought it. He retired from there after 13 1/2 years. He had also worked for Toppe Construction, Dickson’s and the former Redbrush Park.
He enjoyed watching Colts Football and IU Basketball on his big screen tv, in his favorite recliner with his dog, Chico at his side. He also loved Wii bowling with his great-grandsons and at one time had a Wednesday night bowling tourney with neighbors, which he won more often than not. Not having started the bowling until he was in his mid-80’s, it was amazing to watch him bowl many perfect games.
An avid gardener, he always overdid it on his vegetables and planted enough to supply several neighbors with a wide variety each year until he was finally unable to care for it as he wanted, because he would never allow a weed to grow in it.
He also was an accomplished woodworker, especially birds, spending countless hours on the finest details of the feathers.
A true survivor, he beat a case of West Nile at the age of 80, being admitted to the hospital with an axially temperature of 106. He was featured in a front page article in the Tribune telling of that experience in hopes of alerting others and protecting them from that danger. At age 87, he underwent an atrial valve replacement and volunteered to be part of a research study on a new sterilization method for that valve. He also had a cochlear implant, bilateral lens implants and denture implants, thus earning him the nickname of “The Bionic Man” from his family.
In December of 2014, the Tribune did another article about Russell. After reading the article about him, he received a call from a lady in Florida, wishing him a happy belated birthday. When asked how she knew about him, she stated that she was originally from Seymour and after seeing the headline about a Seymour WWII veteran in her local paper, she had to read the article. Hearing that, his family did an internet search and discovered that the article had been picked up by the AP and literally gone nationwide.
Father Tim Weddell will conduct services for Russell at 2:00pm on Sunday, July 1, 2018 at Woodlawn Life Celebration Centre. Visitation will be on Saturday, June 30, 2018 from 10:00pm until 2:00pm and on Sunday from 1:00 until service at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery with full military honors. Memorials can be made at the funeral home to Grace Community Church. Friends can sign the guest book or share a favorite memory at www.woodlawnfamilyfuneral.com.