James Robert Bell, 80, passed away on October 4, 2020, at his home in Lawn, Texas, in the company and care of his loving wife and children. His passing marked the end of his long and courageous battle with Leukemia, which was a reflection of a life devoted to family, faith, and country.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am, October 9, 2020, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Abilene with the Rev. Msgr. Frederick G. Nawarskas officiating. Inurnment will follow at Elmwood Memorial Park in Abilene. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, Texas.
James Robert Bell was born in Grove City, Pennsylvania, to James Russell Bell and Betty Jean (Gandee) Bell. His father was a Church of the Nazarene minister, and much of James’ childhood was spent traveling with his family from church to church. His family settled in Baltimore, Maryland, and James attended high school at Baltimore City College. As a teen, James found his lifelong passion for flying and earned his pilot’s license. He flew throughout his adult life, only stopping when his illness required him to do so.
After graduation, James enrolled at Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne where he studied mechanical engineering. Before finishing his degree, James enlisted in the United States Army in 1961 and served in Vietnam as an advisor to the South Vietnamese military. While on duty, he was wounded and sent home. He returned to Indiana Tech and finished his degree. During this time, he met and married his wife of over 53 years, Vanda Mary Klus, in 1967.
James and Vanda returned to Baltimore where he earned his law degree from The University of Baltimore in 1973. James’ 46-year career as a patent attorney found him and his growing family traveling quite a bit for work, until they landed in Austin, Texas, in 1994. James became a partner and headed up the patent division for the prestigious law firm Haynes & Boone. While in Texas, James and Vanda fell in love with ranch life and moved to Blanco, Texas, where they restored an old farmhouse. After retiring, James and Vanda moved to another ranch in Lawn, Texas, in 2016.
In addition to his accomplishments at Haynes & Boone, James was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, The State Bars of Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Texas, The United States Patent and Trademark Office, The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, The United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, and The Austin Intellectual Property Law Association, serving as its president in 2005.
James Robert Bell was preceded in death by his mother Betty Jean, his father James, his brother Keith Bell, and his brother-in-law Patrick Howell.
James Robert Bell is survived by his wife Vanda, daughter Shari Harris and son-in-law Rick Harris, daughter Amy Witt and son-in-law Harrison Witt, son Jason Bell and daughter-in-law Huong Tran, sister Susan Lucky and brother-in-law Grayson Lucky, sister Kathy Harris, grandson Ian Beckett and granddaughter-in-law Laura Beckett, grandson Sam Witt, grandson Otis Witt, sister-in law Lois Bell, sister-in-law Anne Grigg and brother-in-law Joe Grigg, sister-in-law Marysia Wallace and brother-in-law Emmett Wallace, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.