CARL THOMAS BELL ~ Class of 1965
August 14, 1947 - April 23, 2015
Carl crossed the mortal finish line at age 67 on Thursday, April 23, 2015, with an extra breath and a smile after being unable to smile for weeks. Undoubtedly, he was met with great joy and celebration for a race run well. He was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma cancer on January 4, 2015, while working as a physician in the Urgent Care Center at San Juan Hospital. He loved exercising, especially running--completing sixteen marathons with an incredible ability to push himself physically and mentally.
Carl was born on August 14, 1947, in Richland. He had one older sister, Diana, and one younger sister, Dawn. He had fond memories of playing in the Columbia River with his friends, visiting the Oregon Coast with his family, and throwing a ball with his dad. In high school, he ran track, did the high jump, and enjoyed bowling.
He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Central America where his love of the Gospel, Spanish, and Spanish speakers was solidified. His ability to fluently communicate with Spanish-speaking patients was a gift to many.
After his mission, he supported himself through college and medical school at the University of Washington by driving Seattle buses and caring for a quadriplegic patient. It was through that acquaintance that he met his wife, Carol, whom he immediately recognized as “the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.” They were married on February 14, 1974, in the Cardston, Alberta Temple.
As a physician in the Army, they lived in Washington, Georgia, Oregon, and Kentucky (where he completed a fellowship in high-risk obstetrics) before settling in Pleasant Grove, Utah, in 1979. The Bell family moved to American Fork, Utah where he could walk to work in 1986. Throughout his career he delivered 2000 babies, including some of his own children and grandchildren. Carl cared deeply for his patients. He was blessed with the gift to heal not only physical ailments, but hearts laden with trouble. He felt it an honor to make house calls or have patients visit his home at any hour. He readily accepted chickens, food, or yard work as payment, and several patients have revealed that one December they received a note regarding their bill that simply stated, “Paid in Full. Merry Christmas.” He served as President of Utah County Medical Alliance. In 1999 he was named Utah County Physician of the Year. In 2010 he went to Haiti to help as a physician in the aftermath of the earthquake.
When Carl saw a need, he quickly jumped to serve always deflecting attention from himself. In the 1980s, after numerous deaths in the Murdock Canal, he started the “Save Our Children” campaign which successfully resulted in fencing the canal. His encouragement and discipline affected the lives of many youth as a track and cross country coach. In 1993 he and his family lived in Tonga for three months while Carl set-up medical programs. He retired from private practice in 2000. Since then, he has worked at urgent care centers in small towns in Alaska, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, and Illinois.
Carl loved the arts. He was active on the American Fork Arts Council. Along with appreciating good plays or works of literature, he also acted and was a gifted writer. Children and grandchildren’s favorite bedtime stories were ones he wrote, including a published collection titled “With a Kiss and a Hug.” He enjoyed playing the guitar and piano. He felt inspired many times with melodies and thoughts for writing that entered his mind - he was quick to give credit to Heavenly inspiration. His play, “A Will and a Way” was produced at B.Y.U. In 2013 a lifelong dream was completed, as “Deseret”, a musical that he wrote and composed, was produced at the Covey Center. In 2014 his song “I Will be Faithful” won in the Primary category of the LDS Church’s music competition.
Carl found great joy worshiping and learning in the temple. His favorite church calling was serving in the Mount Timpanogos Temple. When diagnosed with cancer, Carl and Carol had a mission call to serve as the medical director and assistant in the Mexico Area.
Carl loved sunrises, a good prank (although his smirk often gave him away), hiking, Haagen-Daaz bars, pruning, boating, holding hands, board games with his sons, traveling, gardening, sleepovers with grandchildren in their yard under the stars, and snuggling with Carol. He provided a magical childhood to his own children playing games like Creepy Crawley, Pinch the Duck, and Fox and Geese. A favorite memory of all of his grandchildren is him coming to the edge of the pool fully dressed and feigning that he hoped no one would push him in. The grandchildren, with squeals of delight, knew that was their cue to run and push him.
He will be remembered as hard-working, compassionate, wise, strong, having a zest for life, creating lasting family memories and traditions, and above all a man who loved the Lord and whose ultimate desire was to do His will.
For nearly thirty years, Carl started daily family devotional playing “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today.” His exemplary life has left many with sunshine in their souls! As his family gathered just before his passing, they were grateful to sing “There is gladness in my soul today, and hope and praise and love. For blessings which he gives me now, for joys laid up above.” Indeed, Carl ran an incredible race!
He was predeceased by his parents, Clyde and Jeanette Bell.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Carol Baisden Bell; ten children: Valecia (Matthew) Green, David Bell, Cyndi Bell, Anji (Jeremy) Branch, Richard (Analese) Bell, Allyson (Scot) Vaniman, Mark (Tana) Bell, John Bell, Summerisa (Spencer) Stevens, and Elder Tyler Bell serving in the Bolivia, Santa Cruz North Mission; twenty-two grandchildren; two sisters: Diana ('62)(Mark) Pratt and Dawn Rich ('67); mother-in-law, Beverly Baisden Johnston; brother-in-law, John (Charmaine) Baisden; and sister-in-law, Linda Baisden.
Funeral Services were held on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at the L.D.S. Chapel in American Fork, Utah, where viewing was held prior to services. Interment was at the Highland City Cemetery.