Delmer Bell was born September 21, 1922 in Oregon City to Jefferson and Florence (Trollinger) Bell; the oldest of their 7 kids. Delmer's dad, Jefferson and uncle, Will migrated to Oregon from Murphy, North Carolina; a small town near the Tennessee border. The two young, courageous men looking for opportunity out west made the trip as hobo's on freight trains. Soon after Delmer's birth his family moved from Oregon City to Parkdale and then to Hood River and Stevenson. The family had a meager life as Jefferson Bell was the owner of a small saw mill on the Wind River but was more interested in spending time at the local watering hole than taking care of his fast growing family. Over the years Delmer would say dinner consisted of water gravy and biscuits; but that they were hungry enough and were glad to get it. He explained how all six boys would share two beds and that rarely did they have enough of anything for everyone. Jefferson Bell ruled his family with an iron fist but the kids grew up knowing right from wrong. Delmer played center field for the Stevenson Bull Dogs and was quite fast on his feet, until his father, Jefferson came to him after his Freshman year and said "Son, school is getting in the way of your education"; meaning the school of "hard knocks" and that there were too many mouths to feed for Delmer to waste his time in high school.
When the time came for Delmer to venture out and start his own life he headed to Portland. He talked about living in different "boarding" houses and working various jobs from framing houses with is younger brother, Jeff, to the Kaiser ship building plant, and later in life at a company called Elder Equipment that did work for PGE. Delmer was a hard worker; never missing time, only having two jobs as an adult, and working for many years at both.
In 1942 Delmer met and married his first wife, Arlene Clark; they had two beautiful daughters, Delene and Karen. Sadly Delene died at age 7 of a brain tumor, however, Karen is well and has had a great life. Shortly after Delene's death Delmer and Arlene divorced. A few years later Delmer met Phyllis McComas at a church social. The two were married in 1952 and celebrated 65 years together until Phyllis' death in July of 2017 at the age 90. Delmer and Phyllis had two children together, David Allen Bell on November 2, 1962 and Dennis Lee Bell on December 26, 1963.
Both Delmer and Phyllis were engaged and dedicated parents; providing every wish and whim the boys could dream up. The family spent many springs and summers camping the Oregon coast and Eastern Oregon and even took a month long trip around the nation visiting many US historical places. Delmer and Phyllis never missed an athletic event that Dennis was in and always put their family first. Delmer was always game to shoot baskets, play football, build a fort or just be the great Dad he was. Delmer was quick witted and always made people laugh, and was the cutest when he would get to laughing at himself when he would say something funny.
Delmer retired in 1986 and was an active daily walker well up into his 80's. He and Phyllis spent a few winters in Arizona but later decided the "snow bird" thing was not for them; though we suspect the real reason was they didn't want to be away from their family and grandkids.
Delmer will always be remembered as a loving, generous, caring, husband, father, best friend and pal. He spent the last 7 months of his life with Dennis and Lori Bell which was some of the most precious times, and they are so glad they took the time to cherish the last months of his life.
Delmer is survived by his brother, Lloyd; daughter, Karen Kimble; sons, David and Dennis; and grandchildren, Kevin and Corey Kimble, Dustin, Sarah and Timothy Bell.
Delmer will live on forever in the hearts and minds of his family and will be in the center of their hearts until they all meet up again one day.