Sunday, November 15, 2015
4/7/1921, at 9:10 PM, John born in
Columbus, , s/o 4. James
Hugh Bell & 5. Wilda Elizabeth
Loftis. (S) Birth Certificate. LownCo.,
10/16/1923 at 10:40 AM, a Tuesday,
Virginia born in Stacy, Waponocca,
Crittenden Co., AR; d/o 6. William Edward Dollahite & 7. Elizabeth Olion Stemm. (S) Birth
1/27/1926, Virginia’s father died.
1926, John entered 1st grade at the “Demonstration”
school of MS State College
For Women, (now for Women). “A
private school, many things, such as
social manners, music appreciation, and dancing were offered , which were not offered in the public school system.”
– John Bell. University
attended her aunt Alice’s wedding in with her
10/1929, The stock market crashed beginning “The Great Depression”, which would last ten years.
4/4/1930, John lives with his family in Columbus, MS. (S) 1930 Census.
4/1/1935, John lives with his parents in Columbus, MS. (S) 1940 Census.
4/1/1935, Virginia lives with her mother and her Aunt Diffee’s family in Jackson, Madison Co., TN.
1/1937, John went to live with his sister, Wilda, in
John attended 9th and 10th grades at Murphysboro Township High School, playing
high school football. Murphysboro, IL
6/1937, John spent the summer with his brother Sydney in NYC, NY. John rode a Greyhound bus from St. Louis to New York. (John had to wait three hours before Sydney picked him up.) According to John, he could “Ride the subway for a nickel. Eat in the AutoMat for a nickel each item. See movies with big-band stage shows for fifty cents. Ride the subway to Yankee Stadium for a baseball game. See the big shows at Radio City Music Hall for seventy-five cents.”
6/1938, John returned to live with his family in
5/1939, John graduated from
High School in Columbus. “Not all A's , but mostly B's ,
B+'s, with a few A's now and then.” – John Bell. John also played football for
1939, Japan and China go to war; Germany invades Poland.
4/2/1940, John lives with his parents and brother Sydney at 604 5th St. So., Columbus, MS. John has 4 years of high school. (S) 1940 Census.
4/16/1940, Virginia lives with her mother and her maternal Aunt Diffee and her family in Jackson, Madison Co., TN. Virginia has completed 3 years of high school. Virginia is listed as “school girl, public school.’ (S) 1940 Census.
1/1940, A recruiter for the Royal Canadian Air Force visited the campus of Mississippi State College. John went to Starkville to hear him speak. (John did not sign up because he learned that fighting for another country would cause him to lose his citizenship.)
9/1940, John enrolled at Miss. State College. [While attending John learned that the need for pilots was so great that they decided to wave the two-year college requirement.]
1/13/1941, John’s mother died in Columbus, MS.
4-5/1941, John sent his Army Air Corps application to Maxwell Field. He then rode the train from Columbus to Montgomery for testing. “The exam dealt mainly, as I recall, with geometry, a little physics, and a lot of mechanical stuff, gears and wheels, and the like.” – John Bell. John passed the test, but was disqualified for being “left handed.” Having missed a lot of classes, John dropped out of Miss. State College.
graduated from ; a member of
ADK Sorority. (S) Original Graduation Announcement. Jackson
1941, John travelled to St. Louis to interview for a position with the GM&O railroad. They wanted college graduates, but hired him as a temp employee. It paid $40 per week plus expenses. “More money than I'd ever seen before in my life. My duties included the oversight of the porters, stewards, and hostesses on The Rebel, which traveled overnight between St. Louis, and Mobile.” – John Bell.
attended Huntington College in for two years. She met John
Bell who was working on the train as she traveled between Jackson and
12/7/1941, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor drawing the US into WWII.
1942, John learned that the pilot training requirement was reduced to a high school diploma. He went to the St. Louis federal building and talked to a recruiter of the Army Air Corps. He travelled to Columbus Air Field, MS, where he completed his paperwork and exams.
3/20/1942 John enlisted as a Private in the Army Air Corps at Columbus Army Air field, MS. He was 5 ft 10 inches tall and weighed 157 pounds. (S) WWII Enlistment record.
4/1942, John ordered to Camp Shelby. Once there, he was assigned to pre-flight training at Maxwell field.
5/1942, John began 13 weeks at Maxwell in pre-flight training.
8/1942, John sent to Primary Flight school at Door field, Arcadia, FL. Once there he learned that their flight instructors were civilians employed by the Embry Riddle School of Aviation. John’s instructor was Bill Oberg. Their training plane was a bi-wing two-seater, the Stearman PT-17. Once he had soloed, there was several weeks of intense ground school included with the flight training. The final test was a 150-mile cross-country solo.
By 2/1943, John completed Basic training. Basic Flight school, at Maxwell, in the Vultee Aircraft BT-13, a larger more acrobatic plane. This training included the first night flights (in which two of his classmates were killed.)
2/1943, John sent back to Door Field for Advanced Flying School in the B-25. “Less ground school, and flying around the clock.” – John Bell.
to to attend business school – learned
clerical skills. Jackson, TN
1943, John sent to “Transition” training in Dalhart, TX. “The B-17 was the biggest airplane we’d ever seen, and the most complicated. All those systems, and four engines.” – John Bell.
8/9/1943, Western Union telegram from Gincie to Johnny: “=Jackson Tenn AUG 9 103P [to] JOHN E BELL 14101451= =232 AAF BY SQDN A DALHART AAB= =ARRIVING AMARILLO WEDNESDAY AUGUST 15 1230 PM I LOVE YOU= =GINCIE.”
1/30/1944, On completing Transition, John sent to the 18th Replacement Depot in Salt Lake City, Utah, for his crew assignment – two pilots, a bombardier, navigator, radio operator, engineer, and four gunners.
1944, John’s crew was then sent to Rapid City, SD, for 10 weeks of combat training. (This is where the crew learns to operate as a unit.)
By 1944, John had proposed to Virginia.
4/1944, Virginia had a wedding shower in Jackson, TN.
5/1944, John unable to get leave to be married. Virginia, with her mother escorting her, traveled to Rapid City, SD, to join him and get married. (S) Wedding Announcement in The Jackson Sun, Monday, May 15, 1944.
5/9/1944 in the First Methodist Church of
Rapid City, SD, at 9
P.M., John married Virginia. After
the wedding, John’s commanding officer sponsored a supper dance at the Rapid
City Country Club.
John was sent on a troop train to NYC, NY.
5/1944, John was shipped to Liverpool, England and assigned to B-17’s; 8th Air Force, 1st Division, 1st Combat Bomb Wing, 398th Bomb Group (Heavy), 601st Strategic Bombing Squadron.
7/13/1944, John’s crew assigned to Nuthampstead Air Field, 50 miles north of London.
1944, John’s first mission was with a large contingent of bombers sent against Munich.
10/17/1944, Virginia and her mother visited Mt Vernon.
8/8/1944, John’s plane shot down on a mission to bomb German troop concentrations at
crashed in Normandy (John slightly injured); were taken to Couvincourt,
on the French coast; and were put on a boat back to England that afternoon.
11/19/1944, John had his picture taken in uniform at Trafalgar Square, London, England.
1/1/1945, John began his journey back to the US. John was credited with 22 missions. Battles and campaigns: S France, Normandy, N France, Ardennes, Rhineland, C Europe. Decorations: EAMET with 6 Bronze Stars (European theater, meritorious service), Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation. (S) Discharge papers.
1/8/1945, John arrived back in the US.
5/8/1945, VE day.
5-6/1945, John returned from the overseas. Virginia left the Pentagon when John returned from WWII.
7/1/1945, John and Gincie visited St Louis, Mo. on his trip home.
1945, John and Gincie lived at 433 Lexington Ave., Jackson, TN. (S) VA document.
10/20/1945, Private First Class John E. Bell discharged from military service. John was awarded $34.50 for a 30% disability. Blue eyes, blonde hair, 5’ 9.5”, 160 pounds. Civilian Occupation: Passenger Representative. Military qualification: AAF Air Crew Member. Battles and campaignes: (S) Discharge papers.
1945, They moved into an apartment in a private home in
4/12/1946, John received a letter from the VA.
1946, John went to work for WCMA, a new radio station of the Dixie network, in
. John was the 1st
employee. [Johnwas soon promoted to Station Manager, and later General Manager
and Vice President of the Dixie Network.] Corinth,
1946, They moved into an apartment in downtown Corinth, MS.
1946, John and Gincie joined the First Methodist Church of Corinth.
1/7/1949, John paid the Alcorn County Poll Tax of $2 prior to voting in the election on April 1st. [John paid $21.25 taxes on property valued at $500 the same month.]
Bef. 1950, They moved into a house at 1105, 5th street in Corinth. (S) Poll Tax receipt for 1953.
8/20/1954, John and Gincie applied for a $12,000 mortage, 20-year loan at 4.5%. (S) Contract.
12/18/1954, John’s father died in Jackson, MS.
By 1/11/1955, They moved into a house at 1019, 6th street in Corinth. (S) Poll Tax receipt for 1955.
By 1/17/1957, Their address was changed to 1019, East 6th street in Corinth. (S) Poll Tax receipt for 1958.
12/1960, They moved 1304 Pine Rd., Corinth.
1966, John went to CA to take care of his deceased brother Syd’s belongings.
7/7/1972, Gincie’s mother died in Jackson, TN.
5/22/1973, “John Bell Broadcasters, Inc.” was created a 512 ½ Fillmore St., Corinth, MS. Officers were Virginia D Bell and John E Bell; and Director Bill E. Henson.
6/12/1973, John and Bill H. Henson involved in a loan of $8750 at 7.25% annual interest. (S) Loan document.
11/20/1975, Gincie executed a will leaving everything to John.
8/26/1977, Gincie renewed her driver’s license for 3 years – eyes: green, hair: blond, 5’ 2”, weight 120. (S) DL.
1982, Gincie issued a passport. (S) PP.
1985, Gincie earned $10,900 working for “John Bell Broadcasters, Inc.” (S) W-2.
1985, Gincie earned $13,100 working for “John Bell Broadcasters, Inc.” (S) W-2.
1987, John retired from WCMA. John and Virginia remained in Corinth, MS.
1987, Gincie renewed her passport. (S) PP.
2004, John mentioned in the book “The Man Called Cash” (about singer Johnny Cash).
12/28/2007, Gincie renewed her driver’s liscence for 5 years.
1/2009, They sold their home and moved into an apartment in downtown Corinth – 708 Cruise St.
1/2009, Nine days after moving into the apartment, Gincie fell and was hospitalized; and eventually moved into the Country Cottage assissted living facility.
5/6/2012, John E. Bell a member of the Alcorn County Republican Executive Committee. (S) Daily Corinthian.
10/17/2013, Gincie died. (S) [Obituary: Virginia Doris “Gincie” Dollahite Bell, 90, of Corinth, passed away Thursday, October 17, 2013 at Country Cottage Assisted Living. A Memorial Visitation will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Corinth, on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. Born October 16, 1923, Ms. Gincie was a homemaker who enjoyed cooking, sewing, and taking care of her family. She was a lifetime member of the Corinth Junior Auxiliary, and worked with the Literacy Program. She was of the Methodist Faith and was a member of First United Methodist Church of Corinth, MS for 67 years. She loved all her children and grandchildren. … Rev. Roger Shock and Bro. Warren Jones will officiate. Visitation for family and friends will be from 3:00 PM Sunday until service time at First United Methodist Church, Corinth, MS.]
12/5/2013, John renewed his driver’s liscence (at 92 years old) for 10 years. [He was still giving his birth date as 1922.]
5/2014, John travelled to England (with friends and a family member) for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The trip, by bus (a tour group which included 3 WWII veterans – and many family members of deceased veterans), started in London, then went to the west to areas where US Army troops were stationed and did their training for the invasion.
6/4/2014, The group took a ferry across the channel to Cherbourg in Normandy. The ferry captain (a lady) heard that a WWII veteran was aboard, found John, and gave him a gift. From Cherbourg the group then began daily bus tours of the areas associated with the invasion – beach heads, major battle sites … John, in his wheel chair, always attracted tourists wanting his autograph.
6/6/2014, John was one of about 50 veterans on the stage at the American cemetery at Omaha Beach when President Obama and the French President addressed the 35-thousand plus crowd. John also had his picture taken with John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi.
2014, “Johnny Bell”, manager of WCMA on Fillmore Street, mentioned in the book “The Next Elvis” by Barbars Barnes Sims.
12/2014, John was the voice of the annual Corinth Christmas parade (one of many years of service.)
6/23/2015, John had a stoke and was hospitalized.
10/19/2015, John, age 94, died in the Whitfield nursing home, Corinth, MS. (S) Obituary. [Visitation is scheduled from 10 AM, Monday, October 26, 2015, at First United Methodist Church - Corinth, MS. A celebration of John's life will be held at 11 AM.]
· John Edward Bell: “During the Great Depression, no one except the very few had any money. It was just as well that by this time I was attending the public schools which required no tuition. ... Due to Mother’s loss of her inheritance from the Loftis plantation, and Daddy’s falling out with the Methodist Conference, family income was reduced to a trickle. Family history says that the family fortune was squandered by my uncle William Ward Loftis; who took over running the plantation after the death of my grandfather, Perry Loftis.”
· John told many stories of his time in England during the war. He talked of taking the train to Paddington station, and visiting Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus when ever he had leave. There was a large USO facility with music and dancing at Piccadilly Circus. This is where he “danced with the Queen” (who was a Princess at the time.)
· Johnny was a vital member of the Corinth community. He was the lead voice and spearhead for establishing the Corinth City Park. He was involved in the Corinth YMCA, later known as the Sportsplex, and was given a lifetime member award. He was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church, serving as member and/or Chairman of various church committees. He was the announcer for the annual Christmas parade from the beginning.
· Virginia worked at WCMA radio for many years as receptionist and computer operator.
Children of John and Virginia:[4 Living children.]