Lacy and Mary Bell, of the Poplar Grove community in Faison, recently celebrated 65 years of marriage with their children and family members. They attribute their lives and success to their faith in God. Much of their young adult and parental life was spent as sharecroppers here in Sampson County. Bell is the oldest known living World War II veteran in the Poplar Grove community, and the oldest living deacon at his beloved church — Poplar Grove M. B. Church.
Bell recounts being drafted into the Army at the young age of 19 along with his brother, James Marshall. His tour of duty included North Africa, France, Italy, Germany, and parts of the U.S. Upon honorably completing his military duties, he returned home and married Mary Faison (Bell) and worked as a farmer for many years until opportunity presented itself in the late 1960s and 1970s. During this period, Bell and his wife transitioned from farming to the public work sector of life.
Bell transitioned into an era of high-rise construction work in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area where he commuted daily until retirement. Bell’s leap of faith in a booming area of construction provided year-round employment unlike that of farming. Not only did his transition provide an opportunity to improve the quality of life for himself and his family, it also afforded many other men in the community and surrounding area the opportunity to become gainfully employed and receive a regular, weekly paycheck. Some of Bell’s work include the construction of NC State University’s cafeteria, Holiday Inn hotel in downtown Raleigh, Raleigh’s Environmental Water and Waste Treatment Plant (Neuse River site), Duke and Chapel Hill hospitals, Crabtree Valley Shopping Center, Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant and other Raleigh construction sites.
Bell’s wife Mary has also been very instrumental in the success of their marriage and care of their family. Upon entering the public work force, she worked as a highly skilled seamstress in several sewing plants in the Clinton area, including Clinton Sewing, Happy Penguin, Devil Dog Sewing, and others. She enjoys bringing that special smile to the faces of family and friends with her delicious home-style cooking.
Lacy and Mary are longtime members of Poplar Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Faison.
They have four children; Glenwood, Lacy Jr., Elizabeth, and Gail. They have six grandchildren, Glenwood Thurston, Derrick, Lacy Antrell, Brandon, Charlotte and Chelsea Moye. They also have two great-grandchildren, Shamerial Bell and Lacy Rashaud Bell.
They both feel truly blessed by God to have experienced the many joys of life throughout their marriage.