Kenneth Howard Bell, age 86, of Stryker, Ohio, passed away on Sunday, May 14, at Fairlawn Haven Nursing Home in Archbold, Ohio. He was born on Sept. 1, 1936, to Opal Elaine Rice and Kenneth Albert Bell in Williams County, Ohio. His father died in 1936 before he was born and mother, Opal, re-married to Harold Francis Lapham on Feb. 17, 1940. On Dec. 14, 1953, he married Helen Yvonne Zulch, and she survives.
He worked for Spangler Candy Company in Bryan, Ohio, starting on July 12, 1954, starting with cooking peanut brittle in an open kettle. Other products that he worked on were Rock Candy, Chocolate Opera Creams, Bryan Drops, Chocolate Clusters (vanilla/maple/cherry) and Toffee Pieces and was the first one to run the Automatic Hansella Vacuum Trip Dum Dum Cooker for the Dum Dum Suckers. He became the candy cane supervisor in about 1965. He helped in deciding which colors and flavors should go together for their colored classic canes. They made a 100 pound candy cane for the Lazarus Department Store, but it broke when they tried to move it. Kenny was featured in the December 1984 issue of Ohio Magazine in an article called Candy Man. Retirement came many years later on July 31, 1995, after 41 years.
Kenny was a long-time member of the Stryker United Methodist Church and was a past member of the UMM (United Methodist Men). He was a member of the Board of Trustees, helped with Vacation Bible school and he and Helen served as janitors for the church for many years. In his younger years he was also a Boy Scout leader with Herb Sanford when son, Randy, was part of troop 79. Those involved at the time will remember the many campouts at Herb’s pond south of Stryker on Ohio 191. He was a past Chamber of Commerce president and member. Many weekends were also spent over the years in their pop-up camper enjoying hot dogs and marshmallows by the fire. He and Helen were active members of the Stryker Band Boosters and enjoyed traveling with the band on many trips as chaperones when their children were in school. They also enjoyed the many sporting events they were able to go to over the years for children and grandchildren. He was also an avid Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions fan.
Kenneth is survived by his wife of 69 years, Helen; his children Patricia Louise (Roger) Speiser of Defiance, Ohio, Kevin Scott (Joanie) Bell, Randal Lee (Laurie) Bell and Cynthia Yvonne (Brian) Fritch all of Stryker, Ohio; Penny Loreen (Dean) Harris of Napoleon, Ohio, and a daughter-in-law Lisa Bores-Bell (Kent) of Monroeville, Ohio, a half-brother, Ned/Butch Allen (Susie) Lapham, of Grayson, Louisiana; a sister, Nora Mae Colbart of Edon, Ohio; a brother-in-law Martell Burrell of Alderson, West Virginia; a sister-in law, Helena Lapham, of Hillsdale, Michigan; a sister-in-law Martha Ann Dixon of Richmond, Indiana; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and stepfather, son Kent Eugene Bell, infant sons David Allen Bell and Michael Eugene Bell, a half-brother Edward/Dutch Arnold Lapham, an infant brother, Robert Bell, sister-in-law Carolyn Kay Burrell, brother-in-law Richard Colbart, brother and sister-in-law Martin Lowell and Diane S. Zulch, and mother and father-in-law, Lowell Franklin and Ruth Luella (Fifer) Zulch.
There will be private family Celebration of Life at Grisier Funeral home in Stryker on Friday, May 19, followed by a private family graveside service at the Oakwood Cemetery in Stryker.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the following in memory of the deceased: Stryker United Methodist Church or the Stryker Senior Center (Dept of Aging). Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.grisierfh.com.
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