Clifford Anderson Bell


Clifford Anderson Bell was born in Sandersville, Gs. on Oct. 31, 1927, the son of William A. Bell, Sr. and Estelle Darden Bell. Raised in Sandersville, he attended Sandersville schools and graduated with the fabulous "Class of 1944" from Sandersville High School. He loved his classmates and enjoyed organizing class reunions where many came "home" to ride with their class in the Kaolin Festival Parade.
In state politics, Mr. Bell worked hard to elect Carl Sanders. On the national level, he worked to elect Jimmy Carter president. He traveled to Ohio with the Peanut Brigade and on Inauguration Day he helped carry the famous "Georgia Peanut" balloon on Pennsylvania Avenue. He said that was the coldest day of his life.
After high school, Mr. Bell attended Oxford College of Emory University where he was a student leader. After graduating from Oxford in 1946, he served in the U. S. Army before enrolling at Emory University in 1948. He was an active member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, sang in the Emory Glee Club and loved Georgia Tech football. In 1950 he received his degree in Ancient History and returned to Sandersville where he had a long career in business, residential and commercial development and as a community leader.
In 1952 Mr. Bell married Jacqueline Becton from Pooler, Georgia. They worked hand-in-hand to make their businesses successful and to raise 3 children. For over 30 years he owned and operated Sandersville Builders Supply and loved his association with the carpenters, painters, plumbers and do-it yourselfers. In 1976 he started Town & Country Real Estate and Investment Company and was the Broker for 42 years. Clifford was a founding Director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, served as Director and President of the Twin City Country Club, was a long time Director and President of the Washington County Community Concert Association, served on the Sandersville City Council and was a founding member of the Sandersville Technical College Foundation. He was a member of the Washington County Hospital Authority, President of the Sandersville Rotary Club and Program Chairman of The Washington County Historical Society.
Mr. Bell was a lifelong member of the Sandersville United Methodist Church where he served as Chairman of the Board and taught The Men's Bible Class for many years. Sharing his great love of music, he sang tenor in the church choir for over 35 years.
In 1972, Mr. Bell began a long relationship as an alumni volunteer with Oxford College of Emory University. He was a charter member of the Oxford Board of Counselors, served as Chairman and remained on that Board until his death. In 1993 he established The Jackie and Clifford Bell Scholarship to provide assistance to Oxford College students from Washington County. In 1996 he was the first recipient of the R. Carl Chandler Award for outstanding leadership through service to Oxford College. In 2015 the Oxford College Board of Counselors extended its gratitude to Mr. Bell for his support of Oxford College by naming its entrance gate "The Clifford Bell Gate."
Mr. Bell's contributions to Emory University have been equally extensive. He served on the Board of Trustees and at his first Board meeting was sitting across the table when Mr. George Woodruff presented Emory a gift from the Woodruff Foundation of $104,000,000. He saw old men cry with emotion.
He was President of the Emory Alumni Association and in 1984 was the recipient of the highest alumni award conferred by the university, the Emory Medal. In typically modest fashion, Mr. Bell contributed his willingness to serve to his small-town background. "For a country boy from Sandersville, it's exciting and rewarding to be a part of and think you may be making some contributions toward all the things that go on at Emory University - from sophisticated medical research to the basic education of bright young men and women." He was awarded a 40-year pin in 2007 by the Emory Annual Fund Consecutive Giving Society. What a remarkable legacy Mr. Bell leaves for other alumni to emulate!
In recent years Mr. Bell lived in Sky Valley, Ga. in Rabun County. In his beloved Sky Valley, he cherished his friendships. He was a founding member of the Sky Valley Country Club, an active member and Chairman of the Rabun County Music Festival, honored as the Grand Marshall in the July 4th parade, and affectionately known as the "King" of Sky Valley.
Mr. Bell is survived by his wife Jackie and his 3 children: Tom Bell and his wife Mary Susan, Barbara Bell Lance and her husband David and Beverly Bell Webb and her husband Andy. Seven grandchildren: Tabitha Bell Hatfield and her husband Greg, Andy Bell and his wife Miranda, Jackson Lance and his wife Tracie, Jacqueline Bell Lance and her husband Jon Vogel, Clifford Lance, Zack Webb and his wife Kelli, Sara Crawford and her husband Chase. Eleven great grandchildren: David and Matthew Vogel, Jack Lance, Tobey, Ree and Holt Hatfield, T. J. and Georgia Grace Bell, Owen and Cole Webb and Finn Crawford. He is also survived by brothers-in-law, Dr. Jim Becton and Ed Becton. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Virginia Bell Parker, Sara Bell Bridges, Frank, Delamar and William Bell.
Mr. Bell donated his body to the Medical College of Georgia for research in hopes that in his passing he can continue to serve others. Donations may be made in Mr. Bell's memory to The Jackie and Clifford A. Bell Scholarship Endowment at Oxford College,801 Emory Street, Oxford, Ga. 30054 or The Angel Fund at the Sandersville United Methodist Church or to a charity of your choice.
Mr. Bell always had an attitude of optimism, genuine concern for others and unselfishness. He will be missed by many, particularly his loving family, his loyal friends and his devoted caregivers Yo, Ro, Neak, Virginia, Ashley and Shauna.
Clifford was a gentleman and a scholar who enjoyed sharing his 5 o'clock bourbon and Sprite happy hour with his many friends over the years.
Mr. Bell passed away on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at his residence.
May and Smith Funeral Directors is in charge of these arrangements.