Corydon Whitten (Whit) Bell Jr.

Published 9:15 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

Corydon Whitten (Whit) Bell Jr., 92, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Feb. 14, 2017.

He was a very kind and generous person who was dedicated to his profession and to loving and caring for his family.

His interests included the history of steamboats and tugboats, commercial aviation, space exploration, and archaeology. He loved to camp, travel, and visit museums, and he loved the great outdoors, especially the Great Smoky Mountains and Cape Hatteras, N.C.

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He encouraged and supported his children’s interests including swimming, band, scouting, and horses. He was an avid note sender who never missed an opportunity to send a card for any occasion or a happy note for no occasion.

Mr. Bell was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1924 and lived there until he joined the United States Navy in 1943. After the war, he enrolled in the engineering program at the University of Texas, and it was here that he met and married his wife, Barbara (Babs) Hanna.

Mr. Bell graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1950 and was hired by the Tennessee Valley Authority. After a short stint in Alabama, the couple moved to Knoxville, Tenn., in 1952. While at TVA, Mr. Bell held a variety of positions including assistant to the director for water control planning and supervisor for project management for the Flood Protection Branch.

He also managed the TVA archaeological program and was responsible for the administration of 19 major archaeological investigation and salvage contracts with nine area university departments of anthropology and museums, together with consulting contracts with professional archaeologists across the country.

Mr. Bell was a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (serving on various committees and board positions, including president, of the Tennessee Valley Section), Technical Society of Knoxville (secretary and treasurer), American Association of Cost Engineers, U. S. Committee on Large Dams, and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

He also served as the president, and on various positions on the board of directors, of the Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union. He served as the director of the International Symposium on Man-Made Lakes and authored a paper presented at the First International Cost Engineering Symposium in London. Mr. Bell retired from TVA after 35 years.

Mr. Bell is preceded in death by his loving wife of 69 years, Barbara; his parents, Thelma Harrington and Corydon W. Bell; sister, Pat Liston; brother-in-law, Bob Solibakke; in-laws, Elfreda and James Hanna; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Margie and Fred Harmon, Jim Hanna and Brandon and Emily Hanna.

He is survived by his daughters, Nancy Bell (Ronnie Bounds) of Vicksburg, Holly Prosise (Randy) of Loudon, Tenn., and Jill Howe (Michael) of Philadelphia, Tenn.; his son, Michael Bell of Seattle; grandchildren, Andy (Mallory) Bell, Abbie Bell, Tricia Howe and Lyn Howe; his sister, Nancy Solibakke of Seattle; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family is especially grateful to Mr. Bell’s caregivers, Nan Woodbury and Tiffany Bush, for their loving care of their father.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation, 1107 Washington Street, Vicksburg, MS 39183.