HAS A DEATH OCCURRED? WE ARE AVAILABLE 24/7 (218) 206-2322
Personalized service options allow you to honor your loved ones in a way that is both meaningful and healing. We hope to provide support and caring while delivering memorial services that celebrate life and help families find the peace they deserve.
If you’re seeking an honorable celebration of life, we invite you to learn more about where we came from, our vision, and the dedicated people behind our work.
A History of Caring
Hugh J. Bell and Thomas G. Bell Sr. began Bell Brothers Funeral Home more than 100 years ago with a commitment to a high standard of service and quality care. Throughout our history, we’ve been leaders and innovators while maintaining that high standard. Everyone at Bell Brothers Funeral Home is proud to uphold our heritage and commitment to the community.
At the age of 21, Hugh J. Bell left his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to start a funeral business in Duluth in 1912. Hugh had a slow start, and in 1914, his brother, Thomas G. Bell Sr., joined him and created Bell Brothers Funeral Home. Thomas was a railroad engineer, astute businessman and community-oriented individual, serving in many groups and organizations including Masons, Toastmasters and the Duluth Athletic Club. He also served as president of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association and was inducted into the Duluth Hall of Fame in 1955 for his outstanding service to the Duluth community. He also assisted students in helping fund their college education.
In 1921, Bell Brothers Funeral Home relocated to the corner of Cody Street and 56th Avenue West, using 2 residential homes for the business. In 1925, Hugh passed away unexpectedly. Thomas G. Bell Jr., the only child of Thomas Bell Sr., served as a Navy pilot during World War II and was community-oriented like his father. He took on many responsibilities in the funeral industry as well as the Duluth community. He eventually married Elinor Miller Spicer in Corpus Christi, Texas, and together they raised 6 children in Duluth.
Three of Thomas Jr.’s sons, Thomas G. III, Frank Spicer and Charles Miller, got their start in the family funeral home by washing its fleet of cars in the summertime. After finishing college, Tom, Charlie and Frank joined their father in managing the funeral home.
Thomas III became a licensed funeral director and embalmer after a brief career teaching at Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota. Tom served in leadership positions in Duluth and was president of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association. After graduating from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Frank S. Bell created Belmar, a business that sold monuments, markers and fiberglass burial vaults. He served as president of Goodwill Industries and was a president of U.S. Selected Service for the Duluth area. Charles M. Bell, the youngest of the group, joined the business after graduating from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science. He served as a funeral director and embalmer. In 2005, Charlie was elected into the Duluth Hall of Fame, exactly 50 years after his grandfather, Thomas G. Sr. was elected.
In 1974, Tom, Frank and Charlie purchased Bell Brothers from their father. They each followed their father’s example of community involvement and were active in groups, organizations and causes, including West Duluth Businessmen’s Club, Masons, Rotary, the Boys and Girls Club of Duluth, Ordean Foundation and the Duluth Chamber of Commerce.
Thomas G. Bell Jr. died in 1982. After developing a solid reputation in West Duluth, the remaining brothers saw the opportunity for expansion into east Duluth. In 1986, they purchased the Jarvi Dowd Funeral Home in East Hillside and successfully grew that business by 50%.
By 1993, Bell Brothers Funeral Home had grown to become one of the largest funeral service providers in Duluth serving more than 500 families a year. In 1998, the brothers sold the business but continued to remain active in its operations after the sale.