Charlie Bell, 90, of Champaign, died Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, at home.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Owens Funeral Home. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Champaign. A private burial will take place in Mount Hope Cemetery after cremation.
Charlie was born Oct. 8, 1929, in Evansville, Ind., the fifth son of five to an Irish father, Charles E. Bell, and a German mother, Mary Agnes Muenstermann. All four brothers preceded him in death.
He married Evelyn Dean Durham on Aug. 12, 1950, in Eldorado, Ill. They were married for 59 years until Evelyn died on March 27, 2010.
Charlie served his country during the Korean conflict stateside.
Survivors include two sons, Steve Bell of Houston, formerly of Bradley, and Chuck (Nora) Bell of Peoria; and one daughter, Regina (Gene) Reiland of Eureka. The couple's first daughter died in infancy.
He is also survived by three granddaughters, Hilary (Jon) Sidener of Bradley, Megan Helgeson of Imperial, Mo., and Miriam Bell of Duluth, Minn.; and five great-grandchildren, Conor, Parker and Brenner Sidener, and Leah and Ellie Helgeson.
Charlie raised his family in the Catholic faith and sent all three children to Holy Cross School. He was a member of Holy Cross Parish since the 1950s after arriving in Champaign to build homes amidst a housing boom.
Charlie was employed by Wisegarver Construction for 20 years, then by Carle Foundation Hospital until his retirement in 1993.
He was an active Scout leader for more than 10 years, mentoring dozens of young men, including his two sons. Scouting was like college to him as he learned so much about people and himself.
Charlie and Evelyn were side-by-side in the summers gardening and selling vegetables until the travel bug convinced them to hit the road in their RV. But home was always in the house he built for them on North McKinley Avenue in Champaign.
His colorful vocabulary set him apart from the crowd as he proclaimed to be the only member of the one-eyed Catholic carpenter minority.
Memorials may be made to Holy Cross Parish.
To send flowers to Charlie's family, please visit our floral section.