Bell, J.R. 2012-07-10

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General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: J.R. Bell

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: July 10, 2012

Location: Amarillo, Texas

Interviewer: Robert Weaver

Length: 01:36:31


Born in Hickston, England, Father was in the Army air core, Mother was a British citizen, Parents got married there, Bell James R was his father’s name and his mother’s name was Joan, Father was in charge of making planes work, Father never actually saw the front line for combat, Grandparents lived in Childress, Dad went to school in Childress, Had a farm, Father sold some insurance, In 1972 father was semi retired and his mother moved to Wichita falls, Mom lived in Lubbock for about 3 years, Both buried in Wichita falls, Most other family buried in Paducah, Father moved to Childress in 1929, Practiced law, Went to school in Paducah through 5 grade, Went to Childress until graduated from high school in 1963, Worked at grocery store before going to college, Didn’t start until after high school, Lots of small town grocery stores back in the 1960’s, Both children are adopted, Emily was adopted when he was 35-36, Married in 1971 to Jan, Emily born in 1979, Went to Clarendon Junior college, Went there for 3 semesters then transferred to Texas Tech, All guys were in FFA that he hung out with, No one really had cars, Lot of activities to do, Daughter liked to play volleyball, At smaller schools anyone who wanted to could play, Emily wasn’t good enough to play on any teams, Emily did theater, All his friends were deployed, Long time Childress had railroad shops going through, Lost some friends in Vietnam, 20 out of 80 went to Texas Tech, Been keeping in touch with his old professors, Community college a lot cheaper, Loves Texas tech, Went right into land management, Person that set him onto land tract was old ag teacher, Use to be land and grass judging team, John Hunter was his mentor, Got a summer job at a USDA agency, Got mail from her and it was advertising for student training, Got a letter for him to interview, Began to work with ranchers more, Met his wife at Tech, She was going to Wayland Baptist, Met through a mutual friend, She is from Estelline, Parents had grocery store and farm, Worked in Post for his first permanent position, Finished school in 1971, From post he learned a lot, Met his boss named Bailey Mayo, Bailey Mayo was laid back and low-key, Taught him how to meet farmers and ranchers, Involved in major effort to build terraces for crop land, Worked mostly with ranchers, Did lots of grid maps and terrace lines, Began working with ranchers more after that slowed down, It was more of a water conservation effort, Pays off in the long run, Conservation efforts ended in about 1985, Worked with a lot of people to do it, A lot of the farms were blown away

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