Obituary: Gene Emerson Bell

Posted at 1:23 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 15:24:04-04

Cpl Gene Emerson Bell - USMC, WWII, Iwo Jima Veteran, age 95.

Gene Emerson Bell - Sunrise 22 June 1926 - Sunset 9 September 2021

Gene and his twin brother, Gerald Bell, were born June 22, 1926, to Emerson and Madolin Bell in Santa Monica, California. Gene attended Inglewood High School until 1943 when, at age 17, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for service during WWII. Gene went through combat during the liberation of Guam in 1944 and the battle of Iwo Jima in early 1945. Gene was selected to attend Officers Candidate School and was returned to the United States in June of 1945.

Upon discharge in 1946 he went to work at the Inglewood Post Office where he met the love of his life Miss Vera Wegelin, who was working there. They were married April 6, 1947, at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Inglewood, California. In 1948 Gene joined the Inglewood Police Department and remained there until retirement in 1977. Upon retiring from the police department, he joined the National Park Service and worked as a Law Enforcement Ranger at Glacier National Park in Montana, retiring from the Park Service in 1986.

Many adventures awaited Gene and Vera upon retirement as they took advantage of airline retirement and traveled the world. They delivered bibles to Volga Region, Russia for the Lutheran Church while doing genealogy on Vera’s family and volunteered for Large Print Lutheran Braille Workers in Hemet and Banning, California.

Gene became very active in veteran activities worldwide, becoming a Director of the Iwo Jima Association of America—traveling to Iwo Jima on several occasions, and giving speeches at various veteran and corporate functions. He was scheduled to be our Marine Corps Birthday Ball Honored Speaker this year and had his speech prepared for a lively talk on Iwo Jima. Gene Bell was a walking talking Marine advertisement who was conversant with and on a first-name basis with nearly every Marine Commandant in recent history. He was a knowledgeable, well-spoken, polite gentleman, always positive in his outlook and attitude. He returned to Guam as a Liberator on seventeen separate occasions and served as the Grand Marshall of the Guam Liberation on his last trip in 2017

Vera preceded Gene in death in February of 2013. Together they raised four boys and enjoyed a lifetime of honored service to their family, church, and treasured the United States of America. Gene is survived by his twin brother, Gerald; his four sons, Craig, Brad, Kurt, and David; four grandchildren; Kyle, Brook, Erin, Belinda; five great-grandchildren, Kole, Kailey, Harper, Roman, McCoy; and a multitude of nieces, nephews, and countless relatives.

Interment with full military honors will be at Yellowstone National Cemetery, Laurel, MT at 1PM on 24 September 2021. The Celebration of the Life of Cpl Gene E Bell with military honors will be held at the Marine/Veterans Range located on the Half Circle Ranch, 15980 Rocky Mountain Rd, Belgrade, MT 59714. Military Honors Service commences on 25 September 2021 at 1100 sharp to be followed by salute, sharing, and lite lunch.

Cards of Condolence should be addressed to the Family of Gene Bell, 346 Red Oak, Belgrade, MT 59714, and Donations in Gene’s Honor should be made out to Robert A Ellerd Detachment 1050 in favor of Gene E Bell Memorial Scholarship which Gene funded and had recently issued its first scholarship award.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.