Cover photo for James Bell's Obituary
James Bell Profile Photo
1937 James 2020

James Bell

May 5, 1937 — July 11, 2020


Nowata businessman James Oliver “Dude” Bell, 83, passed away at home July 11, 2020 with his family by his side. He was born May 5, 1937 in Pryor, Oklahoma to George and Argie Berniece (Sinor) Bell. Dude’s dad nicknamed him Dude when he was a toddler, because he was a little dude. He now has a grandson and a great grandson with the the middle name of Dude.

Dude graduated from Moline, Kansas and on October 29, 1963 he married the love of his life, Caryl Blake, in Sperry Oklahoma. In high school he was an outstanding football player. The local paper called him Moline’s scoring machine. He was always a leader and was his class president from 7th grade throughout high school. His sister said he always stood up for anyone that was being mistreated and had a kind Heart. She also said that he helped his siblings and parents with whatever they could not afford, and he would provide for them. He worked summers on road projects from the age of 14. Dude was a very hard working man. He would say “work isn’t work if you enjoy it”. In 1968 Dude established Bellco Materials in Nowata. The business specialized in crushed limestone mining and quarrying and later expanding into highway, street, and bridge construction. He loved building a business that his family could all be a part of. He built the family business from one very small quarry operation east of Nowata. Before the family sold the business in 2007 it had increased to five quarries located near Nowata, Claremore, Dewey, Bartlesville, and Pawhuska. In 1986 he ventured in to producing asphalt. He had six asphalt plants near Dewey, Claremore, Pawhuska, Ponca City, Pryor and an additional one that would move to large read jobs as needed. He had two road crews that laid the asphalt and a fleet of trucks. He also had several maintenance shops. Bellco’s work area covered nearly all of Northeastern Oklahoma. It covered North to Cherryvale Kansas, South just to the North edge of Tulsa, East just into Arkansas and West to Blackwell, Oklahoma. After selling the family business instead of retiring and relaxing, he continued to work raising crops  and cattle. As a hobby he collected antique cars. Dude  loved his family. Whether working with his sons and grandsons or the Sunday gatherings for lunch, he loved being with them. He loved holding his boys, the grandchildren, and great grandchildren as babies. He loved teaching them about work and how to accomplish whatever needed done. From how to ride a tricycle, to go-carts, to tractors, combines, and big equipment.

Dude loved to help his community and surrounding area. Through his company he would donate asphalt driveways to various fire departments, and senior citizens centers.  He donated a van and an ambulance to the Nowata 10-33 Emergency Response Team and a generator to the City of Nowata. He would stop on the road to help a stranger that had a flat tire, or had run out of gas. He was a very generous  man and will be missed by the many friends and family he had.

Preceding Mr. Bell in death are his parents, George and Berniece Bell, sisters Georgia Wilson and Ethel Helms, and a great granddaughter Mallory Raylynn Bell.

Survivors include his wife Caryl of the home; three sons Jimmy Bell and wife Lorie, Michael Bell and Brent Bell, all of Nowata; thirteen grandchildren, Blake Bell, Brook Bell, Lesley Riley, Joel Straw, Jackson Straw, Kaitlin Bell, Garrett Bell, Ty Bell, Morgan Bell, Madison Kester, Meghan Stroman, Bryce Bell, Hunter Bell; 10 great grandchildren, Laylah Riley, Jamison Riley, Josiah Riley, Zelda Pearce, Madden Bell, Kamden Hubbard, Kembry Hubbard, Easton Bell, Claire Kester, Conor Stroman; a brother, John Bell of Nowata; a sister, Edna Armstrong of Augusta, Kansas; a very special friend, Dr. David Caughell; many other relatives and a host of friends

Visitation will be at the Bell Ranch car barn between 5:00-7:00 P.M., Tuesday July 14, 2020.

Services for James “Dude” Bell will be held, 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at First Baptist Church of Nowata with Dr. Larry Delay officiating.  There will be no graveside services. Services are under the direction of Benjamin Funeral Service of Nowata. Online condolenses may be left at or see our facebook page.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Bell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

The home of the Bell family.

Rte 1, OK 74048

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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