Henry and Shirley Bell, rural Chetopa, will celebrate their 60th anniversary with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25, at Center Christian Church, 3150 SW Center Road, Columbus. It will be hosted by their children, Craig and Kathy Bell, Miami, Okla., Tammy and Nicolas Raue, Springfield, Mo., and Sherry Conner, Chetopa.

They request no gifts aside from the blessing of your presence.

Henry and Shirley (Wilson) Bell were married Aug. 24, 1958, by Pastor Oren L. Perry, in the Assembly of God, Chetopa.

They wish to thank Shirley’s brother for arranging their first date. Rodger was a young man of 16 and always wanting to drive a car. Henry, who had a pretty, new 1956 Ford, told Rodger if he would get him a date with his sister, he would let him drive to Springfield, Mo. With the promise of driving Henry’s car, Rodger set about persuading his sister to go with this good-looking guy, who never smoked, drank, or cussed, to a Dare Devil Car Show. Shirley, being the adventurous type, thought it would be a lot of fun. On Sunday, after church, Henry came to pick them up, and that was the beginning of a new adventure for all of them. That was in June of 1957. The rest, as they say, is history.

There has been lots of laughter, and some tears, in the 60 years since that day. God has been good and richly blessed them with their four children, who have brought so much joy with lots of ball games, laughter and music. Henry and Shirley’s first born, Henry Brandt, Jr., (Sonny) wrote over 500 songs and had several of them recorded. He even had one make top 50 on the music charts, realizing his life’s dream. He won a Martin Guitar from American Songwriter magazine for the lyrics to “Dash Between the Dates.” In March 2007, Sonny passed from this life to his Heavenly home. He lived his whole life serving his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Their second son, Craig, is Vice President of Operations at Westco, Inc., Miami, Okla. Their first daughter, Tammy, makes cakes from her home in Springfield, Mo. Their youngest daughter, Sherry, is the Manager of Westco Home Furnishings, Columbus.

The Bells have been blessed with 21 grandchildren, including six spouses, and 18 great-grandchildren, ranging in age from 13 years down to 14 months.

Henry and Shirley are active in Center Christian Church and Gideons International. They were also involved in the Farm Bureau, with both serving as Cherokee County President in the 1990s. Henry is still involved with hauling his own hay to the barns, feeding and tending about 100 head of cattle. Shirley retired from her business of Weddings, Etc., and is happy to be a stay-at-home wife and occasional babysitter for the great-grands, when she has a chance.