John William Bell, Sr. was born on December 21, 1928 to the late James William Bell and Florence Peden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of five siblings, three of whom preceded him in death: Ethel, James and Nettie.
John was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System and graduated from Northeast High School.
Early in his life, John accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord ans savior and was baptized at Grace Baptist Church. Later he joined Saint Augustine Episcopal Church of the Covenant, then Second Baptist Church of Germantown. John joined the choir, and remained active until his health began to fail.
John was an industrious young man who worked several jobs before embarking on his lifelong profession as a government employee for Veteran Hospital, of which he retired after twenty years of service.
On March 26, 1946, John entered the U.S. Navy and after an honorable discharge, he lived the single life until June 25, 1956. He met and married Thelma Williams. He later married Phoebe Caldwell, a Philadelphia educator, who predeceased him in death. They were married for 38 years. They loved traveling extensively and enjoyed life together accompanied by their sons.
Life was not the same after the death of his loving wife, Phoebe. He lived a long life, but a lonely life. He would go to movies once in a while, yet he was a huge sports fan. Music was his passion. He loved to sing whether it was Oldies but Goodies, Gospel, or just listening quietly and meditating to music. He loved riding in new cars, never a "used " car, ONLY JEEPS! His last car was a 2019 "Gray" Jeep! His son, Philip finally told his dad, "Because of your failing health it was time to stop driving". Needless to say, and without hesitation, Philip became his dad's "FREE" Uber Driver. Whenever his dad needed to go places, doctor visits, or needed a helping hand, Philip took the time to be with him. They both loved there quality time together, especially on Sundays after church, when it was time to watch all kinds of sports! Many times before Philip went home from work, he always made sure to stop by to see his dad, just to say Hi and I love you!
John leaves to cherish his memory: three sons, Jonathan, John,Jr. and Philip; sister Marie Florence Rice; sister-in-law Margaret Alexander-Williams; a devoted brother-in-law, Reverend Gilbert H. Caldwell; two granddaughters, Ashleigh and Lauren; goddaughter, Rhonda Jones; and his former wife, Thelma Yancy; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and loving friends.
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