It is with great sadness that the family of Alex Bell (Fife) announce his recent passing on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
Alex was born April 30th, 1923 in Lochore, Scotland in the County of Fife. He and his mother and two brothers immigrated to Cumberland, B.C. when he was a year old, in 1924, following his Father, David W. Bell, who had already moved to and found work in the coal mines in Cumberland.
Alex is predeceased by his parents, David W. Bell and Helen Bell (Clark); brothers, James (Margaret) Bell, and David (Elsie) Bell, and his kind and loving wife of 60 years, Helena (Lena) Bell (Ball), (Jan. 23, 1928 – Jan. 12, 2009). As well, Fife had many brothers and sisters – laws, a lot of whom lived and raised their families close by in Cumberland.
Fife is survived by; his four children, sons, Alexander (Jr.) (Mary) Bell, James (Jim) (Maureen) Bell and Gary Bell (Julie Foster), daughter Brenda (Bob) Levirs, Foster Children, Jenny, Darlene, 11 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren (one on the way), brother in law, David Ball and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Fife was raised in Cumberland and began his working career in 1937 as a rock picker in the coal mines, just like many other young men in Cumberland at the time. He was so eager to start work he told the bosses he was 15 years old, the legal working age, but he was really only 14. Over his 30 year stint underground, he worked in Comox Valley mines.
Beginning at # 5 in Cumberland, then moving to Bevan Town site, finally ending at Sable River when it finally closed in 1967. He then worked for a short period of time as a School District Custodian and Construction Labourer, working to build the Comox Hospital until he began the second part of his long working life as a driller – blaster in Kelsey Bay logging camp at the age of 47 in 1970. Fife retired at the age of 65 in 1988 after working for 51 years.
In 1948, a young man of 25, Fife met and married his beloved wife Lena at one of the many dances held at the Cumberland Hall. Their lives together progressed beautifully, working and raising their family in a busy, bustling community, making time on Friday nights for fun, dancing and visiting with relatives and friends.
In the early years, Fife often spent weekends and holidays up the lake at the cabins fishing, and hunting the hills of Cumberland around Comox Lake. Later on, he enjoyed salmon fishing and fishing some of the smaller lakes in the area with his sons. After he retired, much of his time and energy focused on cutting firewood to heat his home. Each year, he cut cords and cords of wood until many could see that he had enough to heat half of Cumberland! In fact, he had just bought a wood splitter days before he died so that he could keep up his supply. On hot summer days Fife could be found cooling off sitting out on his back porch or in a shed his son Gary built for him. During the winter Fife liked to watch baseball, especially the Blue Jays.
At 93, Fife lived a long, full life until he suddenly fell and broke his hip. Due to the close proximity and care of his medical support and family, he was able to live those years in the comfort and happiness of his own home and in the community that he loved and rarely left.
The service of Alex Bell (Fife) will be held Saturday, January 7, 2016 at 11 am at the United Church in Cumberland. A reception to follow will be from 12 to 3 pm at the Cultural Centre (bottom) in Cumberland.
A special thanks goes to Dr. Wolnick for his care and concern.
Condolences can be made to family, in person or by visiting the memorial web site at www.piercysmtwashingtonfuneral.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the United Church in Cumberland will be gratefully accepted.