May 22, 1933 - October 27, 2020
Burial Date: December 4, 2020
Funeral Home Northwest LA Veterans Cemetery
Lt. Col. Nelson King Bell, USAF (Ret.) passed away October 27, 2020 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was born May 22, 1933, in Santa Barbara, California, to Merland and Alfreda Bell. He grew up in Redwood City, California.
Nelson learned the love of flight at an early age when his Uncle Norman, RCAF pilot, took him flying in an open cockpit airplane. From that day on, he only wanted to be a pilot. He was an aeronautical engineer major at San Jose State University near the end of the Korean War. He volunteered for USAF Aviation Cadet Program. He graduated a 2nd Lt. with wings June 30, 1955. After one year at Sewart AFB in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, he received overseas orders. He proposed to his college sweetheart, Judith Ann George. They married August 5, 1956 in Carmel, California. He swept his bride off to France for three years. While in France he flew C-119 cargo missions all over Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and East Berlin. His 20 year career took him to Kansas, Idaho, California, Washington, Alaska, Guam, Okinawa and finally Barksdale AFB in Bossier City where he was in KC-135 Combat Evaluation Group. He retired in 1974 and remained in Shreveport for children to complete high school.
During his career he flew Piper Cub, T6-Texan, B-25, C-119, B-47 and KC-135. He was awarded Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Air Medal and was member of KC-135 2,000 Hour Club. In 1980 when KC-10 squadron came to Barksdale, he returned to his love of airplanes. He was pilot instructor in KC-10 simulator trainer and later became the site manager. He remained in that position until the KC-10 squadron was transferred to New Jersey in 1994.
He was a long-time member of Broadmoor United Methodist Church, Comanche Society, EAA, AOPA, QBs and a lifetime member of MOAA. Nelson and Judie enjoyed flying their Twin Comanche to many fly-ins and attended national conventions all over the United States, Canada and England. They also attended many pilot class, 55-Q, reunions and many 60th Troop Carrier reunions throughout the years. Flying friends are forever.
Nelson had a witty sense of humor and a nickname for everyone and everything. He was a stern task master but a teddy bear at heart.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Judie Bell; daughters, Jennifer Jean Bell Shelton and husband, Mark and Tracey Lynn Bell Haynes and husband, Mark; son, Gregory Scott Bell and wife, Amy; eight grandchildren, Matthew Vance Shelton and wife, Michelle, Andrew Mark Shelton, Dorothy Ann Shelton Davis and husband, Steven, John Maxwell Shelton, Amanda Lynn Haynes Robichaux and husband, Nicholas, David Keith Haynes and wife, Mary-Frances, Sydney Elyse Bell and Addie Morgan Bell and eight great-grandchildren, Kaylee Ann Shelton, James Leo Shelton, Joseph Shelton Davis, Ann Marie Davis, Violet Bell Shelton, Vivienne Bell Robichaux, Miller Patrick Robichaux and Henry Francis Haynes.
The family wishes to express thanks to Dr. William Mark Haynes and Dr. Scott Haynes for their care and compassion.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials may be made in Nelson’s memory to Broadmoor United Methodist Church, 3715 Youree Dr, Shreveport, LA 71105, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, Shriner’s Hospital, 3100 Samford Ave, Shreveport, LA 71103 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
A memorial will take place at the Veteran’s Cemetery, 7970 Mike Clark Rd., Keithville, Louisiana on Friday, December 4, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. with Dr. Greg Davis officiating.