Ernest L. Bell of Orlando, Florida passed away on September 27, 2017 at the age of 80 years old after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. “Ernie” was born in Annapolis, Maryland. He is preceded in death by his parents, Katherine and Ernest Bell of Annapolis, MD, stepchildren Marty Greentree of Simpsonville, SC and Ryan Thirles of Greenbelt, MD. He will be missed by his wife of 30 years Lea Bell of Orlando; daughter Linda Isobaker of Havelock, NC; stepson Chris Thirles (Kris); sister Pat Wilson (Bill) of Annapolis, MD; brother Kenneth Bell of Wheeling, WV; brothers-in-law Francis E. Holmes of Accokeek, MD; David Holmes (Lorraine) of Maui, Hawaii; two grandchildren Michael Elliott of Elkins, WV, Angela Kelley of Annapolis, MD and countless friends, neighbors and colleagues.
Ernie was the President of McCrone Inc./DTI headquartered in Annapolis, MD a civil engineering land surveying and planning company with offices in Centreville, Elkton, Salisbury, Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region. McCrone sent Ernie and Lea to Florida to purchase McFerrin/McCrone, a surveying engineering firm, in Titusville and Cape Canaveral. As global financing changed, the Bells moved on to own International Travel Alternatives, Inc., a major travel wholesale inbound and outbound world-wide travel corporation specializing in Central America. They were instrumental in bringing many international airlines to Orlando International Airport. Then Ernie transferred to real estate retiring after 24 years with Watson Realty Corporation in SW Orlando.
Ernie was the President of Severna Park, Maryland Lions Club for a number of years, member of Annapolis Sail and Ski Club, Central Florida Rotary, Space Coast Development Board Member, Board Member of the Greater Orlando Realtors Association for many years, Board Member of the Florida International Business Council, two-term President Winderlakes HOA, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Board Member and Officer of many other business and civic organizations. Ernie loved working, helping people, possessing vast knowledge, a keen wit and a love for nature and creating beautiful places for others to enjoy. He was a highly respected businessman and meticulous planner earning many prestigious national awards for his work. He loved classical music and the outdoors. He especially loved his friends at Watson Realty and his special Alzheimer’s helpers.
Services will be at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd. in Orlando at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, October 21, 2017 with reception afterwards. Internment will be Monday, October 23, 2017 at Cape Canaveral National Veteran’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Luke’s UMC in Ernie’s honor.