Professor Charles Bell
by Brad Hayes

Born on July 25, 1882, Charles E. Bell was a man loved by his community. He was admired, honored, and respected by all who knew him as Superintendent of Trion City Schools. He was also remembered as the Manager of the Trion Theatre.

Mr. Bell retired from Trion City Schools in 1945, and the Bell’s left Trion. However, Trion gave the Bell’s an open invitation to return, and the Bell’s annual return was called ‘The Red Book Singing.’ It was a homecoming, reunion, and singing all rolled into one event. The annual Red Book Singing was first kindled in 1954, nine years after the Bell’s retired and moved away from Trion.

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From left to right: James King, Prof. Charles Bell, Ethel Simmons, and Ed Surles, circa 1954.

The 1963 Red Book Singing would be the one that Professor Bell remembered as his last with his beloved wife of 56 years. Mr. & Mrs. Bell had arrived in Trion with great anticipation of attending their 9th Annual ‘Red Book Singing’ on June 15, 1963. While resting in the Trion Inn, Mrs. Bell fell and broke her hip. She was immediately taken to the nearby Trion Hospital. The doctors and nurses cared for her around the clock, but after sixteen days in the hospital, she passed away on July 1, 1963.

The Bell’s had seven children: Harold, Carson, Wanda, Kathryn, Marion, Bobby, and Charles, Jr. Professor Bell’s loneliness was overbearing, and two years after his wife’s passing, he returned to live with his daughter and son-in-law in Chattooga County. In November 1965, Professor Bell moved in with Mr. & Mrs. O.H. Elgin in the Berryton community. He died on October 22, 1970.

Professor Charles E. Bell’s commanding voice and footsteps will forever be heard in Trion High’s halls of learning. “Only The Useful Obtain Happiness.” 

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Prof. Bell (second from left) and others. Date unknown.

Photographs by T. Emmett Nunn.  Courtesy of Charles Logan and Chattooga County Library.

Thanks to Brad Hayes who originally published this biography in the Trion Facts.

Copyright 2015  Greg W. McCollum.  All rights reserved.