SUNRISE, FL—Captain Gerald Robert Bell died on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, at age 93.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1930 to Sophie and Jacob Bell, who both had emigrated to Ellis Island from Odessa, Russia. Jerry, as he liked to be called, grew up with much older sisters above the delicatessen that his father ran.
He was sent to college in New York by the U.S. Navy, and after graduating he was accepted into the U.S. Naval Post-graduate School and earned honors by being accepted into the Society of the Sigma Xi (an honorary scientific research society). He then attended the U.S. Navy’s flight school (both Glen Sheppard and Neil Armstrong were in his flight school class).
He graduated and went to work for the Navy as a naval aviator. He moved up the ranks fairly quickly, and was stationed in Alameda, California, where he met and married Joyce Kell Bell. He continued to fly jets, until he developed vertigo and he had to give up flying.
Because of his background, he was selected to be a commander of an aircraft carrier, and spent several years of his naval career doing that. He was stationed all over the country, moved his family every two years. He was selected in 1967 to move to Brussels to start designing missile computer programs for NATO. Following that tour, he went back to an aircraft carrier and helped the Navy through the Vietnam conflict.
He moved his family several more times, as he rose all the way to the rank of captain. He finished his 32 year Naval career at the Pentagon, as a project manager of anti-radiation missiles, and retired from his beloved Navy.
He then wrote computer programs for many companies, which led him to establish his own computer company in Northern Virginia. He sold this business when he decided it was time to retire and move to Florida with his second wife, Ruth Weiss.
He is survived by his two children and one stepchild, Candice Bell King (John) of Gainesville, Florida, Robin Bell Blake (Hubert) of Kilmarnock and Mark Weiss. He has seven grandchildren, Christie King, Timothy Blake, Kathryn King Rabb, Nathan Blake, Ashlyn King, Marie Weiss and Adam Weiss; and five great-grandchildren, Emmet Blake, Paloma King-Sierra, Oliver Blake, Robin King-Sierra and James Blake.
He will receive a full military honors funeral at Arlington Cemetery at a later date.