William G. R. Bell

Retired railroader and longtime avid gardener

April 10, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

William George Russell Bell, a retired railroad dispatcher and a third-generation railroader, died Monday of complications from a stroke at his daughter's home in Houston.

Mr. Bell, a longtime Uniontown resident, was 92.

Born in Baltimore and raised in West Arlington, Mr. Bell's grandfather had been a Western Maryland Railway telegrapher, and his father had been a freight clerk for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

He attended City College and later earned his General Educational Development certificate.

Mr. Bell went to work in 1944 as a block operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He subsequently worked for its successor companies, Penn Central Railroad, Conrail and Amtrak, before retiring in 1979.

"He began his career as a block operator at Gwynns Run tower, and during World War II was exempt from the service because of his work," said his daughter, Ellen Bell Lee, who lives in Houston.

Mr. Bell was later promoted to train dispatcher. He spent most of his career working at Pennsylvania Station.

He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.

An avid gardener, Mr. Bell enjoyed working in a large garden that he maintained at his Uniontown home.

"He raised silver queen corn, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, lima beans, green beans and fruit," his daughter said.

Mr. Bell was a member of Taneytown Baptist Church, Keystone Club, a railroad Masonic lodge, and the Ben Franklin Odenton Masonic Lodge No. 209.

His wife of 69 years, the former Elizabeth Ridgely Nagle, who had been a sales associate at the old O'Neill's and Stewart's department stores, died in 2007.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. today at Eckhardt Funeral Home, 11605 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills.

Also surviving are a brother, Thomas W. Bell Jr. of Towson; three grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

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