ROCKPORT — Reverend Robert E. Bell, Sr., 94, entered into the presence of his Lord Jesus, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, at the Sussman House after a period of declining health.

Robert Bell.

Born in Mars Hill, July 25, 1927, he was the son of Earl P. and Bertha M. Kearney Bell. Educated in local schools, he attended Aroostook Central Institute two years before moving with his family to Thomaston, where he graduated Thomaston High School, class of 1947.

Rev. Bell was a U.S. Navy veteran and served aboard the USS Telamon, ARB8.

In 1950, he graduated Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., and, in 1954, completed a Masters in divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Mass.

On Sept. 5, 1948, he married Mary I. Richards at First Baptist Church in Rockland. Mary died in 2005.

Rev. Bell was ordained at First Baptist Church, Rockland, June 26, 1953. He was the founding pastor of High Street Baptist Church in Limestone, where he served from 1954 to 1958. God’s call on Rev. Bell’s life took him to First Baptist Church, South Portland, 1958-1966; service as Eastern Representative, Conservative Baptist Association of America, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1966-1969; pastor of Baptist Churches in Grand Harbour, Seal Cove and Grand Manan, New Brunswick, 1969-1974; pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Rochester, N.H., 1974-1986; pastor of Wood River Baptist Church, Wyoming, R.I., 1986-1993, from which he retired. After retiring from full time ministry, he served as Pastor of Community Church, Northport and Bayshore Baptist Church, Lincolnville Beach, 1993-2005. From 1982-2014, Rev. Bell served as a board member and past Chairman of New England Bible School, South Portland, of which he was one of the original founders.

On Jan. 4, 2006, he married Jean M. Herbert at First Baptist Church, Rockland.

Hunting and fishing were hobbies he enjoyed, but possibly his favorite was antique cars. Over the years he owned many and enjoyed working on them himself.

Although a man whose height and stature made him evident in any setting, Reverend Bell’s humility and warmth gave him the ability to make friends wherever he went, yet he never claimed any success to be of his own doing. His self-composed funeral directives said it best when he wrote, “Tell the pastor, he need not say much about me, but be sure to say a lot about the Lord Jesus!”

Other than his parents and his first wife, Rev. Bell was pre-deceased by a son, John Michael Bell, a brother, Lawrence E. Bell, and his step-daughter’s husband, Ernest Hammond. He is survived by his wife, Jean; son, Robert E. Bell, Jr. (Teresa) of North Berwick; step-children, Michael Herbert (Jody) of Rockland, Michelle Henry (Terrence) of Old Town, Kim Hammond of Rockland; grandchildren, Cameron Henry, Julie McArthur (Brian), Jennifer Lambertson (Kevin), Matthew Bell (Maria), Timothy Bell, Joseph Bell; and six great-grandchildren, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Friends and relatives are invited to visit from 11 a.m.-noon, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland, where a funeral service will begin at noon. The Reverends Richard Francis and David Forsythe will officiate. Interment with Military Honors will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery, Camden. For those unable to attend in person, a live-stream of Rev. Bell’s service will be available on his book of memories at Follow the link under “Photos & Videos” tab, then “Watch Webcast.”

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to New England Bible College/Grace Evangelical Seminary ,502 Odlin Rd Bangor, ME 04401. To share a memory or story with the Bell family, please visit their online Book of Memories at

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