Welcome to the memorial page for

Samuel M. Bell

January 6, 1920 ~ May 11, 2017 (age 97)

The Piano Brothers
Obituary Image

Samuel M. Bell

Age 97, of Longwood at Oakmont, formerly of Fox Chapel, died peacefully on Thursday evening, May 11, 2017 surrounded by loving family members.  He was predeceased by his loving wife of 66 years Martha Opsion Bell. He is survived by his three children, Samuel (Deborah) Bell of Lower Burrell, John (Janice) Bell of Fox Chapel, and Thomas (Susan) Bell of New York, and five grandchildren – Andrew, Adam, Sarah, Ian, and Aubrienne, and one great grandchild, Jason.  Sam was born on January 6, 1920 in Wooster, OH, where his ancestors formerly ran a renowned Percheron & Belgian Stallion breeding operation. His parents moved to Pittsburgh in the 1920s, where Sam's father established S.H. Bell Company in 1933, and where it continues today. Sam attended Peabody High School, and graduated in 1938 from Clark Preparatory School, in Hanover, NH. He subsequently attended Dartmouth College, where he obtained a BA degree in 1942. Sam then continued on at Dartmouth, where in 1943 he received a combined MBA and MA in Engineering degree from the Tuck School of Business and the Thayer School of Engineering.  He served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946, being discharged after achieving the rank of First Lieutenant. Sam then began his business career with S.H. Bell Company in 1947 where he started as a Chemical Broker and Manufacturer’s Agent. Ultimately taking over as President in 1954, Sam led the company for 31 years until his retirement in 1985, at which point the Company was acquired by his three adult sons, who still run the family business today.  Sam was a Charter Member of the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, a Founding Member of the Fox Chapel Racquet Club, and a member of the Fox Chapel Golf Club. He was also a Founding Member of the Bald Head Island Chapel, served on the Chapel Board of Trustees, and was a member of the Bald Head Island Club in North Carolina. Sam and Martha discovered Bald Head Island, NC shortly after Sam’s retirement, and they fondly split time rotating between homes in Pittsburgh and Bald Head Island for many happy years. During this time, Sam was elected to and enjoyed serving on Bald Head Island’s Village Council, and for a time, he also served ably as the Mayor of the Village of Bald Head Island. Sam also had a keen interest in aviation, and at  one point held a private pilot’s license.  As a businessman, Sam had a quiet and modest, but strong and effective, leadership style. Through hard work, a willingness to take risks, a clear strategic vision and strong sense of values, he was the driving force in the development of S.H. Bell Company into a globally-recognized stevedoring/warehousing and services company. By word and deed, he established integrity, fairness, and customer service as the Company's core values.  In his personal life, Sam was a loving, kind and supportive husband, father, and friend. He was willing to lead by example with actions rather than words, and he did not need personal recognition for his accomplishments, although there were many. He delighted in the exploits of his family, and his dearest times were those spent with them.  No visitation.  A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. in the Chapel at the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, 384 Fox Chapel Road.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the The Village Chapel of Bald Head Island, via link:


Charitable donations may be made to:

The Village Chapel of Bald Head Island

 Service Information

Memorial Service
July 16, 2017

12:30 PM
Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church
384 Fox Chapel Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

© 2017 Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS