Services for Steve Bell of Ardmore, will be at 10 a.m. Monday, July 28, 2014, in Marietta’s First Baptist Church, with the Rev. Tommy Higle officiating. Interment in Lakeview Cemetery, Marietta, will follow under the direction of Flanagan-Watts Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Marietta.

Steve was born in Odessa, Texas, on Oct. 8, 1954, to Dub and Laura Belle Bell and a 10-month-old brother, Bill. The family left Odessa in 1958 to return to his parents’ hometown of Marietta. Steve attended Marietta Public Schools, graduating in 1973. At the end-of-the-year assembly, superintendent Joe Banks said, “You are the worst class to ever attend this school!” Steve and his classmates stood and cheered.

Steve was involved in football, basketball and track during junior high and high school. He especially enjoyed his years of success under the coaching of Bob McClain. He excelled in track, which soon spurred his enjoyment of watching his sons run track and later cheering on the track and cross country teams of Plainview, which quickly depended on hearing his booming voice encouraging them to do their best.

He and Johni Hicks began to date in 1972 and married Dec. 27, 1976. They made their home in Marietta, where Steve joined his parents at Bell Auto as Johni completed college and taught at Marietta for 20 years. He was a very active supporter of Marietta Indian athletics. Steve’s greatest accomplishments were his sons, Dillon and Bryce, who were born during this time. Steve eventually took over his parents’ business.

In 2000, they moved to Ardmore when Johni joined the Plainview High School teaching staff, where they became involved in Plainview athletics. Steve supported Johni’s teaching and coaching and the athletic programs at Plainview. He made many friends in the community, and was very proud to be a part of “The Breakfast Club” at Daylight Donuts.

Steve was an excellent cook and was known for his brisket, fried catfish,and pecan pies, a skill he had learned from his mother. He especially enjoyed cooking for others. He built his own portable smokers and cooked for the concession stand at every home football game. He always had plenty of specially-prepared tailgate food for anyone who came by. He also cooked for dinners and special occasions at his church, First Baptist Church, Marietta, where he served as deacon since 1999.

Steve had many hobbies. He and Johni were always ready to jump on the motorcycle and take a weekend road trip or make a short dinner run with friends. He enjoyed good health by biking or running regularly. He was an avid hunter of deer, turkeys, quail and pheasant. His motto was, “If it flies, it dies.” He, Johni and their friends enjoyed many hunts together. In 2010, he fulfilled a lifetime dream when he killed a bear in northern Minnesota, joined by his dear friend, Don Latimer.

Another passion of Steve’s was being a member of the Volunteer Christian Builders. He and Johni were blessed to be able to spend 19 summer vacations traveling to Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado, New Mexico and Spiro, Okla., to build churches, parsonages and whatever new construction any church needed. He made lifelong friends in those churches that he helped build. His favorite expression from these mission trips was, “It don’t get no better than this.”

Steve’s and Johni’s lives became complete in the births of their grandchildren. Maggie, the dancer, and Miles, the perpetual motion machine, were Poppi’s greatest joy. He looked forward to the day when they would be joined by cousins.

Steve was preceded in death by his mother, Laura Belle Bell; maternal grandparents Sid and Minnie Bone; and paternal grandparents Oscar and Dottie Bell.

Survivors include his wife, Johni Bell of the home; father Dub Bell of Marietta; two sons, Dillon Oscar Bell and wife Frankie, and Stephen Bryce Bell and fiancée Amanda, all of Ardmore; brother Bill Bell and wife Marcia of Marietta; two grandchildren, Maggie Bryce Bell and Miles William Bell; father-in-law and mother-in-law George and Media Hicks, also of Marietta; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Gina and Steve Calhoun of Ninnekah; two nieces and three nephews.

Serving as casket bearers will be Dillon Bell, Bryce Bell, Don Latimer, Greg Petty, David Bell and Lavon Hicks. Honorary bearers are the Volunteer Christian Builders, Plainview Track Club, Breakfast Club and the Marietta Class of 1973.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Steve Bell Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o American National Bank, 1901 N. Commerce St., Ardmore, OK 73401.

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