Shepherd Community Mourns Death of Dr. Carl Bell


(THE PICKET)- Dr. Carl F. Bell, Professor Emeritus of Biology and Shepherdstown resident, died Monday, March 20. Bell was a retired Shepherd University professor, having taught from 1961 until 2015. This morning Shepherd paid him tribute on Facebook, citing an article from Shepherd Magazine, which was published when he retired.

Photo by Cecelia Mason, from the Shepherd Magazine

Bell was noted for his enthusiasm in the biology department, his hobby of watching flying squirrels, and for giving his classes hands on experiences by taking them for walks along the C&O Canal to look at the mash habitat. Shepherd Magazine’s article stated that Bell was the longest serving employee Shepherd had ever had.  

Bell’s retirement was noted on rate my professor, a place for students to anonymously give opinions of professors, with sadness and appreciation.

A 2009 Alumni on rate my professor said, “learning Dr. Bell has finally retired saddens me. He is the most brilliant individual I have had the pleasure of ever knowing. I took as many classes (6) as possible, for the pleasure of learning everything he had to offer. His bone dry humor is fantastic. Thank you, Dr. Bell, for your decades of service.”

A student from 2014 also stated that Bell’s classes were “an amazing experience that will stay with you forever.”

To honor Bell, the University has dedicated an endowment fund for the study of Biology, as well as a lab in the Byrd Science Center building to his name.

According to his obituary, a set of visitation hours will be held on March 24, at New St. United Methodist Church, in Shepherdstown from 6 to 8 p.m., with a memorial service at the same location, March 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Online condolences may be offered at

  • Mike M.

    I am grateful that I had the opportunity to have Dr. Bell for Taxonomy classes, and was sad to hear of his passing, his knowledge of the natural world was amazing, and his sense of humor would catch you off-guard. There was nothing quite like wandering through the woods with him and hoping that you wouldn’t disappoint when he asked for the scientific name and the family of any given species encountered on the walk.

  • Mike M.

    In the words of Edward Abbey:

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.