Judge Bell died yesterday morning at age 90. He will be buried in Americus, Ga., on Wednesday with a public memorial service set for 11:00 AM on Friday at Atlanta’s Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church where he was a member.
A strong advocate of the historic freedoms that have marked Baptists and Americans, Judge Bell was often sought out for his wisdom and guidance.
“Judge Bell combined a high sense of integrity with a strong measure of grace,” said R. Kirby Godsey, former president and current chancellor of Mercer University, in a press release.
A 1948 graduate of Mercer’s law school, Bell was very loyal to his alma mater. He served six terms on the university’s Board of Trustees including holding the chairmanship from 1991-1995.
He also chaired two major fund-raising campaigns and had a chair established at the law school in his name in 1986.
In 2007, the university bestowed the rare title of Life Trustee on Judge Bell.
While a high-profile figure in American politics, Judge Bell’s long life also serves as a reminder of how important all lay leaders are to the church and church-related ministries.