Childhood sweethearts, Doug and Barbara Bell have been together since high school and the many pages of their fairy-tale love story continue to fill.
“It was love at first sight,” said Barbara. “And it’s just as strong today as it was back then.”
The couple has been married 58 years. They currently reside in Madison, WV.
“We married just after Barbara graduated high school,” explained Doug.
“We were married in Beverly, West Virginia in 1958.”
Doug, now 79 jokingly says Barbara is much older. However, only two years separates the couple.
“He got lucky and married a younger woman,” laughed Barbara. “I went to Scott High School and Doug went to Logan High School.”
Over the years the couple has gained the love and respect of many, including staff and patients at Boone Memorial Hospital. Doug was appointed to the Boone Memorial Hospital Board of Directors in 2011. Both he and Barbara have been actively involved in the hospital’s events and extremely supportive of the new hospital building project.
“I have been in favor of building a new hospital since conversations first began years ago,” said Doug. “I think it’s important Barbara and I continue that support by making a contribution now.”
Doug is naming a patient room in Barbara’s honor. Barbara wanted Doug’s name added to the room as well. However, Doug was insistent that only Barbara be listed.
“He’s humble like that,” she said. “He doesn’t need a lot of recognition. He just wants to help the hospital and community and honor me at the same time.”
Doug currently serves on the Boone County Board of Health and was recently appointed to the Coal Festival Board. He previously served on the Madison Health Care Board and the Southern Counties Consortium Rural Health Education Partnerships Board.
Doug has managed several contracting/mining companies and real estate ventures. At one time he owned the Stevens-Bell Funeral Home (located beside the Benjamin Price Bridge in Madison). His rental properties included Foodland, which is now in a trust, Long John Silvers, Kroger, the Madison Post Office, Pizza Hut, Danville Mini-Mart and the Madison Rite-Aid.
Doug managed several coal mines/mine supply companies such as L&D, Inc., Laurel Coal, Robin Resources (named after his daughter), Leivasy Mining Corporation and Spruce River Supply. He worked for Westmoreland Coal and is presently the managing partner of Doroca Company and Bell Rentals.
The Bells are members of Stevens Chapel United Methodist Church where Doug teaches Bible School, the Adult Sunday School Class and leads the choir.
In addition to community involvement, family is extremely important to the Bells.
“I have been blessed to be a stay-at-home wife, mother and volunteer over the years,” said Barbara. “We have 3 wonderful children and 4 grandchildren.”
Daughter Robin is a retired school teacher from Brookview Elementary School, son Todd is employed at Clear-On in South Charleston and son Kip is a Federal Mine Inspector-Safety and Health for MSHA (metal and non-metal).
Grandchildren include Noelle, Sterling, Brooke and Tyler.
In their spare time Doug and Barbara love to travel.
“We call our trips mini honeymoons,” said Barbara. “We try to go on one trip monthly.”
The couple has been to all 50 states and traveled abroad several times. Some of their favorite destinations include Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, California, Palm Springs, Montana and Branson Missouri.
“We also really enjoy going to ski resorts,” said Doug. “We have been to several.”
Doug and Barbara continue to celebrate life to the fullest at nearly 80 years young. They don’t let much grass grow under their feet and remain active in the community, with their family and their love and devotion for each other.
“We are blessed and love our life and community,” said Barbara.
“Doug and I are so excited about the new hospital. It’s so pretty and we can’t wait to see the finished product. We are happy to support the new BMH.”
The new hospital is scheduled to open this June.
To learn more about the BMH Capital Campaign or the new Boone Memorial Hospital please call Denver Allen, Campaign Director at 304-539-2242 or visit www.healthyfutureforbmh.org
Pictured Above: Barbara Bell as a Majorette her Senior Year at Scott High School.