One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for September 9, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
Last week the UNC Pembroke Athletic Department announced their 2015 Hall of Fame Class. The group will be officially installed at the Alumni Awards Dinner on October 2nd and recognized at the Homecoming Football game on Saturday October 3, 2015. Two of the individuals getting inducted will receive that honor posthumously.
One of those two who will be honored next month was a great friend to not only me but the entire university. Mr. Buddy Bell passed away on December 24, 2014 at the age of 83. He was about a good an ambassador to UNC Pembroke that we have ever had especially when it came to UNCP athletics.
Buddy was a native of Robeson County and a Korean War veteran. He received his bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from UNCP in 1958, when the university was still known as Pembroke State College. After teaching Physical Education across the Public Schools of Robeson County for more than 30 years, Bell served on the college’s board of trustees from 1988 to 1991.
Buddy along with Ron Miller served as fundraisers for UNCP First and Ten Campaign that helped bring football back to the UNCP in 2007 following a 50-year absence. You could count on Buddy to pitch in and help the Braves Club and Athletic teams.
Outside of school campuses, Bell was an active member of numerous community organizations, including the Pembroke Parade Committee, Robeson County Partnership for Children, Pembroke Jaycees, Pembroke Lions Club, Pembroke VFW and the Pembroke Kiwanis Club, where he once served as president.
Along with his wife, Sarah, Buddy raised three successful sons: Greg Bell, a Superior Court judge in Robeson County; Dr. Joey Bell, medical director of Pembroke Pediatrics; and Ronny Bell, director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem.
The Bell Family (l-r) Greg, Buddy, Sarah, Joey, and Ronny.
Buddy efforts to make Pembroke a better place didn’t go unheralded by the community. In 2011, he received a Distinguished Service Award from UNCP. In December 2014 he was made grand marshal of the annual Pembroke Twilight Christmas Parade, which he orchestrated alongside Greg Cummings for the past 26 years.
Buddy had many friends but he adored and worshipped his grandchildren including Jamie Bell. He like his grandfather is a teacher and coach.
The Friend-BUDDY BELL-in 2011 receiving Distinguished Service Award at UNCP
The Friend of the Friend-JAMIE BELL
The Bell legacy
I have forgotten the number of times that Buddy Bell would talk to me about his grandchildren. He loved watching them grow up and being part of their lives. One grandson was Jamie Bell. Jamie’s dad is Greg Bell a Superior Court Judge in Lumberton, NC. Greg Bell like his dad loved sports and he passed that passion down to his son Jamie.
When Jamie was still in grade school and high school I would often see Greg, Buddy, and Jamie together at UNCP athletic events.
Photo below outside of Bob Caton Fieldhouse at UNCP (l-r) Greg and Jamie Bell.
Buddy Bell loved to go watch Jamie Bell play sports.
Picture from 2007 of Jamie at Lumberton HS
Today Jamie is a coach at Lumberton High School. He graduated from UNCP with a social studies major. He helps coach the football team and is the head coach for the Pirate Wrestling Team.
In the spring of 2015 I attended the Lumberton High School Athletic Awards program.
I got to hear Jamie Bell brag profusely on his team. I closed my eyes that evening and could hear his grandfather Buddy coming out in the remarks Jamie made about his wrestling team.
I don’t think it’s a bad legacy when someone compares you to a Hall of Famer like Mr. Buddy Bell.