John Sammons Bell, 1960-1979
Chief Judge: 1969-1979
JOHN SAMMONS BELL served on the Georgia Court of Appeals 1960-1979. He was born January 26, 1914, in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, and died Friday December 8, 2006.
He was graduated from Gordon Military College in 1932 and was captain of the football team and senior cadet officer. He graduated from Mercer University with an A.B. in 1937; Emory University Law School with aJ.D. in 1948;John Marshall Law School with an LL.B. in 1946 and an LL.D. in 1960. He was admitted to the Bar in 1946; served as an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia for one year and practiced law approximately 12 years before ascending the Bench.
He married Evelyn Gertrude Dame July 8, 1937, in Macon. They have one daughter, Judith Lee. See the tribute dated April 2, 1979, in 150 Georgia Appeals Reports, pages XXXI -XL VI for details of family history and achievements.
He was a major in the U. S. Army in WWII, and received a Purple Heart for combat wounds in the battle of New Georgia and received various other medals of commendation. He belongs to various veteran organizations; the Bryan Society; the Honor Society; the Gridiron Club; the Demosthenian Society; the Lawyers Club of Atlanta; the American, Georgia, and Atlanta Bar Associations; Alpha Tau Omega; Phi Delta Phi; and Alpha Kappa Psi. He was the State Democratic Chairman in 1954 for a four-year term and was reelected for four additional years; active on the National Democratic Convention Platform Committee; designed the Georgia state flag; served six years as Presiding Judge and nine years as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.
U. S. Attorney General Griffin B. Bell said: "We are met today to honor a great jurist. He is that rare combination of intelligence, bravery, executive ability, common sense and good manners that one seeks in placing men and women on the Bench." Governor S. Ernest Vandiver stated: "Service to his fellowman, his state and his nation has been the keyword in his career." Governor George Busbee remarked: "His achievements, contributions, scholarship and talent will be hard to duplicate."