Jim and Maxine Bell have spent their lives focused on their faith, family and community
Jim and Maxine Bell have spent their lives focused on their faith, family and community.
Faith has always been a major part of Jim and Maxine’s lives. Jim has been a member of Mt Juliet’s First Baptist Church since 1947. He and Maxine met at a Halloween party at the church. Maxine came from her home in Watertown to visit family in Mt. Juliet and, by chance, attended the party and met Jim. Maxine recalls that when Jim would come to Watertown her mother would always have a freezer of ice cream ready for him.
The courtship continued after they graduated from high school- Jim from Mt. Juliet High School in 1953 and Maxine from Watertown High School in 1954. Jim would pick up Maxine and drive her home when she attended Belmont and later MTSU. Jim joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Rucker in Alabama. They married three months before he left the Army in 1958.
For the last 54 years, Jim and Maxine have lived in the same house. Four generations of the family gather at their home for holidays and family events. Their sons, Greg and Tim, have 9 children. The Bells have five great grandchildren. Faith and education are words heard often when the proud parents of a minister and career educator talk about their two sons and their families. All nine grandchildren have graduated from college or are attending college. Faith and family are inseparable in the Bell family.
Jim and Maxine Bell have a rich history in Wilson County. In 1939, Jim’s family moved to a 65-acre farm in Mt. Juliet. His father worked for DuPont and raised Tennessee Walking Horses on the Wilson County farm. Jim said he wasn’t allowed to ride the Walking horses because he wanted them to run- he had to ride a mule. Maxine’s father worked for the railroad and operated a farm in Watertown. She tells that when she started school her father carried her on his shoulders to catch the bus since they lived so far off the road.
The Bells opened a sign company in Nashville in the 1960s. They grew the company from a startup to employing 21 people with Jim at the helm and Maxine as his secretary. In 1998, they decided to sell the business and retire. Retirement for the Bells is anything but quiet. Jim and Maxine keep themselves busy with their church, family and community. They “work-out” three days a week, meet friends for meals often and stay involved with activities that, as Maxine commented, “keep them from becoming those old people that just stay at home.”
They have been voting since they were old enough. Jim first voted at the Hamilton Hill Community Center on Central Pike. He recalls that there were no campaign-free zones and candidates would be handing cards to voters all the way to the front door. When the Bells sold the business and retired they started working at the polls on Election Day. Over the past 20 years, Jim and Maxine have become familiar faces at Early Voting and on Election Day. Maxine served as an Election Day Poll Officer with Jim by her side for many years. They have become so much a part of Early Voting that voters plan their voting times to see the Bells.
Jim and Maxine agree that serving as poll officials gives them the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones. It fulfills their desire to stay active, contribute to the community and express their patriotism in a tangible way.
Jim Bell’s summary of a poll official’s day says it all. “It’s a long day, an enjoyable day, a rewarding day and we accomplish something great for our county. The food is good, also.”
Jim and Maxine Bell are two of over 300 Wilson County voters that serve their county as poll officials during Early Voting and on Election Day. To find out more about becoming a poll official visit www.wilsonvotes.com or call the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216.
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