Carl Brell was born in Mankato, Minn. He enlisted in U.S. Army Air Corps on January 9, 1942 and served as a pilot during World War II. He was released from the Army on March 8, 1947 and became one of the founders of Seaboard and the company's first Vice President, Operations. He was aboard Seaboard's first flight, two months after leaving the Army.
Carl was the husband of the late Alice (Hanson) Brell and Doris L. (Harvel) Renninger, who predeceased him in 2004. He was also the father of Mary Jane Vujovic and David Brell, step-father of Warren Renninger and Charlene Renninger Nilsen, brother of Ralph Brell and Helen Thorstad, and grandfather of Amethyst Brell.