Charlie Bell was born in Huntington, W.Va. He attended the United States Military Academy (West Point) where he played football. The Korean War started days after he graduated and he spent three years with the 11th Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.
Charlie left the Army after six years and got a job as a production engineer at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base at Dayton, Ohio. He later worked for the American Machine and Foundry in the development of palletized cargo handling equipment for airlines. AMF did not pursue that line of business so Charlie and some colleagues formed their own company where they developed a system for Seaboard.
Seaboard was impressed enough by Charlie to offer a job and he became vice president of operations. After Seaboard merged with Flying Tigers, he left and helped organize The Aviation Group in Raleigh, N.C., a company that provided airline crews and maintenance. It became the largest contract operator of aircraft in the world, with about 65 planes. He then became president of Triad International Maintenance Corp.
Charlie Bell is survived by his wife, Lea Bell of over 50 years, son Charles E. Bell (Andrea) of Mount Pleasant, SC and his daughter Pia Ford of Kill Devils Hill, NC and 6 grandchildren Sierra, Lexi, Luke, Carson, Molly and Floyd. . He is seen here in June 1979 taking delivery of N703SW, Seaboard's third Boeing 747 freighter.