John Bell

John Augustus Bell, 86, Edgemont, died Thursday, July 14, 2011 at the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs, Fort Meade.

Visitation was one hour prior to services at the church on Tuesday.

Funeral services were 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at the Little White Church in Hills City with Pastor Ron Walker officiating. A second service was offered at 2 p.m., Thursday, July 21, 2011 at the Hansen Funeral Home in Vermillion, with Pastor Trisha Boese officiating. Burial followed in the BluffView Cemetery in Vermillion with military honors.

John was born March 29, 1925 at Cut Hand, TX, to Gus and Katie (Alexander) Bell. John had fond memories of his great grandfather. He was a Texas Ranger and Confederate Civil War Veterans. John's other great grandfather was a Union Civil War Veteran.

John married Franklyn Bessie Block at Morristown, on Sept. 24, 1949. The couple lived in Vermillion where John was employed by the university.

John loved the outdoors. He spent most of the warm weather checking throw lines and hoops nets on the Missouri River. He and Buster Moore bought a deep fat fryer and had fish fries at local bars and for groups of friends. He liked fishing at Roy Lake and trolling below Gavin's Point Dam all night for walleye, then trout fishing in the lakes and ponds of the Black Hills. He also enjoyed deer hunting in the "Hills." He also enjoyed working in the garden and yardwork.

John served his country honorably with the 8th Air Force, 351st Bomb Group as a radio operator on B-17 heavy bomber during World War II from 1943 until 1945. He also served in the US Navy from 1946 until 1948.

He was a life time member of the VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, National  Rifle Association, and a 25 year member of the Vermillion Volunteer Fire Department, former Texas Rangers Association, sons of Confederate Veterans, and a charter member of the Black Hills Good Time German Club. He enjoyed polka music and attended and helped in every festival for the last 21 years.

Survivors include his wife, Bessie Bell, Edgemont; son, Steven (Nancy) Bell, Vermillion; daughters, Jerri (Dave Walsh) Balke, South Sioux City, NE, Cathy Bell, Edgemont; half brother, Gene (Barbara) Hoag, Vermillion; half sister, Helen (Ernie) Metz, Yankton; also four grandchildren Brenda (Bart) Gawlikowski, Brian Balke, Laura Bell, Joshua Bell; and great grandchild Ava Gawlikowski; also brothers in law, Nick (Della) Block, Jack (Linda) Block; sisters in law, Peggy Block Koch, Patricia "Patsy" Block Mollman, Georgia (Richard) Block Makens, Inez Block Locken.

He was preceded in death by his parents, mother and father in law, three brothers in law.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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