Kenneth Lawrence Bell, Age 92, of Watkins Glen, NY passed Sunday, May 17, 2020 at Seneca View in Montour Falls.
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If asked he’d probably say his proudest achievements were graduating from Cornell University, operating Grant’s Greenhouses for 33 years and his family. He was born at home in Newfane, NY on November 7, 1927, to Mark and Clara Bell. He was the oldest of 9 children, growing up on a farm, in the Lockport/Medina, NY area during the depression. After graduating from high school, he was part of the Occupation Force in northern Italy. The army offered three meals a day and chocolate, it was the best he’d eaten! Upon his return, he enrolled at Cornell University, studying field crops, a very practical degree for a practical person.
Ken graduated in 1954, and waited for Joanne Wohnsiedler to graduate in the following June, when they married at Sage Chapel on the Cornell campus. The year in-between, Ken worked as a traveling milk tester. He went between farms and stayed with the families. We heard many stories about these experiences. He then worked as a Cooperative Extension agent, followed by Valley Greenhouse. While at Valley Greenhouses he decided he wanted to own and operate a greenhouse. We moved to Watkins Glen NY in Nov 1968 with the purchase of Grant’s Greenhouses. We were blessed to have wonderful neighbor’s Jonas and Elsie VanDuzer. Mom and Dad sold the business, Sept 11, 2001.
In retirement Ken became more active in Farm Bureau, awarded the Distinguished Service in Agriculture Award, 2011. Ken was a past President of Rotary International, recipient of the Paul Harris award. The Schuyler County Republic Party made Ken, Republican of the Year (2011). The Methodist Church was important in his life, he was active in the local church until it closed. Ken and Joanne enjoyed their house at 9 Orchard Avenue for 17 years before not being able to live independently. They moved into Brookdale Ithaca, in 2018, Ken relocated to Seneca View in November 2019.
He is survived by his wife, Joanne W Bell, and four daughters, Melinda Ann Turner, husband Steven Turner, son Grant, Cynthia Jean Kloppel,, husband Jon, children Aaron, Racheal Kloppel Hale, husband Sam, and their children Harper and Jordan, Constance Jane Sandstrom, husband Mark, children Ursula, Catherine and Peter, Virginia Louise Barr and husband Steven.
There will be a celebration of Dad’s life when we can all be together. You may express condolences to the family online in his obituary at www.RoyceChedzoy.com. Arrangements with Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, Watkins Glen.