John S. Bell Jr., 81, of Kent died Dec. 23, 2012, surrounded by his family. He was the husband of Leona Bell, to whom he was married for 27 years.

Mr. Bell was born Aug. 1, 1931, in Oakland, N.J., the only child born to Frances and John Bell. He graduated from Collingswood High School in 1947 and served in the submarine service of the United States Navy.

Before moving to Kent in 1992, Mr. Bell lived in New Milford for 42 years.

Although retired, Mr. Bell had a colorful life and was engaged in several businesses in the western Connecticut area.

Mr. Bell, along with his first wife, Joan, opened the area's first scuba diving store, The Diving Bell, in Brookfield.

He was known for his excellent underwater photography. He had a passion for photography and owned Simpson's Camera Shop in New Milford for a period of time.

Additionally, over the years, Mr. Bell became well known in the western Connecticut community through his positions with area businesses such as Allstate Insurance, the original New Milford Bowling Lanes, the Bank Street Theater in New Milford and the Bantam Cinema.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Bell is survived by three children, John Bell III, and his wife, Sheila, of Middletown, Joy Miller, and her husband, Patrick, of Jupiter, Fla., and Jeffrey Bell, and his wife, Cindy, of Sanford, N.C.; three stepsons, Steve Jordan, and his wife, Stephanie, of Roxbury, Jeff Jordan, of Wingdale, N.Y., and Andrew Jordan, of Atlanta, Ga; 15 grandchildren, Jay, Jeremy, James, Jeffrey, Douglas, Brandi, Brian, Caitlin, Sharon, Eric, Cody, Joshua, Craig, Travis and Alexander; and seven great-grandchildren, Logan, Brennan, Christian, Ryan, Addiana, Macy and Brinley.

Calling hours will be held tonight (Friday) from 5 to 8 p.m. at Lillis Funeral Home, 58 Bridge St., New Milford. A memorial Mass will be held tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Kent, with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kent Free Market (food bank), Kent Community House, 93 North Main St., Kent, CT 06757, or call 860-927-1586.