Home  Mervin Bell, in memory


Well, I used to take comfort in whiskey,
And I still take respite in weed.
But I never took shelter in pity
So tonight I'll sing sweet sympathy.
'Cause I'm a fool at the mercy of strangers
I'm a man with my heart on my sleeve.
And darlin', if you've got the money
I beg you take care of me.

- Mervin Bell's Blues by Jerry Giddens

Mervin Bell


Mervin L. Bell

Dec 16, 1946 - Oct 22, 1999

A true friend of Third Coast and Texas music.
He will be missed.

Photo: Pat Spielman

Mervin was laid to rest Oct 27, 1999 in Jourdanton City Cemetery.
From his obituary:

"Mr. Bell was bory to Lowell L. Bell and Edna Nyberg Bell. He was a graduate of Jourdanton High School and the Steven F. Austin Colleg in Nacogdoches, Texas.  After college he returned to Jourdanton and entered into business with his father Lowell Bell forming the Bell Real Estate Company.  Mervin was also a member of the First Baptist Church of Jourdanton, Texas and was known for his devotion to his parents.  He was preceded in death by his father, Lowell L. Bell on February 14, 1995.  Mr. Bell is survived by his mother, Edna Bell; uncle Mervin L. Bell; cousin Carlton R. (Sonny) Bell; many other cousins and friends."

Name:   joe x.  -  Thursday, Oct 28, 1999 at 14:50:33
Message:    Re: Mervin's Library

Donations in Mervin's name can be made to:

Jourdanton Community Library
1220 Simmons
Jourdanton, Tx. 78026

Dorothy Manning is the head librarian, and asks that we please stipulate on our donation, that it be applied to "BUILDING FUND."

These good folks at JCL were some who knew and loved MB best.
In Mervin's name, maybe we can make a difference in the town he called home.


Posts from the Third Coast Bull Board:

Name:   joe x.  -  Tuesday, Oct 26, 1999 at 11:36:18
Message:    Re: Mervin's burial -

Service for Mervin Bell will be grave-side only, at the Jourdanton Cemetery, Wednesday, October 27, at 3:00pm.

Directions are:
Go south on Hwy. 16 (the road from Poteet) past the red light in Jourdanton, continue south to just past the Highschool, turn left at the first road to the left. Cemetery will be at the end of that road.
A friend of Mervins told me she would go out Wednesday and tie black ribbons on the stop sign so we could all spot it.

I doubt Mervin will have an obit in E-N, so try to make sure all of MB's friends know about this, if you can.
Brenda X. & I will see you there.

We wanted to know some of the details of what Mervin left before we decided what to do on our end.
At this time, it looks most prudent to be there for his family gathering Wednesday, then put together something here for him at a later date.
We won't let you miss our little get together, I promise.
Stay close to this BB, and listen to TCMN for details.

Thanks to all for the kind words and comfort as we all work our way through this tragedy.

If some of you are interested in doing more than sending flowers, please consider JBJ's excellent suggestion: a donation to the Atascosa County Library, one of Mervin's oasis', and a place he spent considerable time. I know I'm going by Wednesday to make a donation in return for all the great books Mervin lent me from there.

See you Wednesday, hopefully.


Name:   Robbie G..  -  Monday, Oct 25, 1999 at 16:30:07
Message:    I kept the thoughts and memories of mervin in my head all night Sat.while i sang to a great crowd at Wings,I'm not lying,it felt( just for a brief monent)like i could here MERV.saying thanks to all the people standing and sitting in front of me.You'll be missed by me very much.though you'll always have a back stage pass in my heart..G-MAN.......

Name:   Letter To Mervin  -  Monday, Oct 25, 1999 at 13:34:48


When you had friends that cared. That would have done anything you needed.......

Did the songs I play speak wrong?
Did my enjoyment of arts' dark side drive you, hasten your decision?
Did my eyes, shrouded perhaps by a moments pleasure, fail to send me the signs?
My ears, did I fail to listen to your very real pain?
Had you failed yourself somehow?

My road has had many bends and lifts, most turns have evntually made sense.
Maybe someday, I'll understand this.

Sleep deeply, and peacefully at last, my good Brother.

Name:   C. Bandita  -  Monday, Oct 25, 1999 at 11:28:59
Message:    For any of you who might be suffering from survivor's guilt or the "what-ifs"- maybe Mervin hung around for one more hour, one more gig, one more day, month or year because of your music and/or your smiling faces (I know there are smiles under some of those scraggly beards!)...you do far more good than you will ever know...

CHEERS to Mervin and Townes knocking back the shots and trading stories about all of us..

Name:   Charlie Stewart  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 23:56:11
Message:    Mervin Bell was a man among men from Breaking Acts like Luke Olson to legends like Guy Clark you could Always count on Mervin's support from the CCCC to the Kerrville Folk Fest no single person outside the Broacast/Music biz left their mark on the songwriting communitymore than Mervin Bell always ready to buy your product from the stage or provide a needed Shiner to a fellow companion the only comfort i can find is that Townes and Him are trading shots and swapping lies

Name:   PAM AND RUSTY  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 23:41:50

Name:   Terri Hendrix  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 22:06:59
Message:    Thoughts and prayers go out to Mervin and his friends and family. He will be missed.

Name:   Miss Nursie  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 17:23:17
Message:    Right on Roger!
Over the past 24 hours I've spoken with a lot of people who knew Mervin either well or as a casual aquaintance and the question that crops up over and over is .....WHY?
Unfortunately we may never know however we all need to remember that unless some one reaches out to us in their pain and depression there's NO way to predict what some one might do!! Some of our extended family that is TCMN are beating themselves up because they feel like they must have overlooked something, some hint of what was percolating in Mervin's mind that led him to seek the ultimate release from his pain...the sad truth is he probably learned too well how to mask his pain (whatever form it took).We all use masks at times to hide our true emotions, whatever they may be, and if we're very good at it no one really knows what we're feeling or thinking....none of us are psychic( well not to the extent that we were able to read Mervin's mind) So unless he came right out and told you he was hurting there's (I repeat) NO WAY any of us could have stopped this tragedy from happening. Now we have the task of shoring each other up and helping each other and ourselves to move on and honor Mervin's life and live our own to the best of our ability. As I've said before as long as we have our memories Mervin lives on in each of us who's lives he touched.
Roger and Octoboy are right if any one of us is hurting or confused to the point that life doesn't seem to be worth living....TALK TO SOME ONE!!!! Please, please don't hurt yourselves or the people who care about you!!!
It always amazes me to see how many people I know actually care about me, and sometimes when things in my life start to suck I go in search of some good music and good friends to remind myself that I do have a wonderful, caring extended family here in San Antonio,to none of whom I ever want to cause this kind of pain.

We all honor and will miss Mervin...please lets just make sure we don't end up saying these same things over again about some one else who has touched our lives!!!

Name:   Roger SABS  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 13:38:13
Message:    A sad greetings to all, I heard about Mervin last night from Octoboy. I guess was as shocked to hear about this as every one else was. Although I never got to know Mervin that well, I always had a lot of respect for the Man. He was always there at the gigs, never seemed to say alot and was a class act. I seemed to just naturally looked for those Hawaiian shirts when I walked in a place, some how I knew if Mervin was there I wouldn't be disappointed in the show. I guess Mervin's quiet demeaner was some thing that covered up a very tortured side that we all missed. Sometimes one phone call to one person is all it takes to help someone come back from the edge. Let's hope that this doesn't happen again.
I agree with Octoboy, I you are contemplating something like this PLEASE contact us or somebody. We may not have the answers, But by God, we'll try and help find some one who does. As a Third Coaster, you are part of a family (a little disfunctional at times, but still a family) and we will help. Sometimes all a person has to do is listen and let a person know that they are not alone. Peace To All. Roger SABS

Name:   WbMnstr  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 11:02:33
Message:    Thanks for all the calls and comments yesterday; it was rough getting going, and at times I was at a loss, but once the music got rolling it made it was easier. Makes you think about how powerful music is, how it can bring complete strangers together, and how it can express emotions you can't fully comprehend and get you through. I didn't know Mervin that well, but got to know him in the last year or so. I'd go out to shows by myself, and it was always a lift to see Mervin, made it a little friendlier. I recall the years past before I knew any of this Third Coast crowd and I would always see this guy at the shows. It's going to feel a little emptier at the shows, like something's missing, not quite right. Glad I got to know you Mervin.

Good shows in town today--Adam Carroll trio at Gruene 12:30, Terri Hendrix at Borders/Quarry at 2.. I'll be filling in for Joe X. tonight, I'll try to get through J-Z -- check it out.

Name:   Jennifer  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 08:05:45
Message:    Hey, TC friends, Roger came by last night to tell my about Mervin. It's still hard to believe. I always felt like Mervin would be there -- even when nobody else was. He was the angel of the music scene for me and I suppose he always will be. During the past few months, we developed our own little Guy Forsyth fan club -- went to all his gigs and sang along. Mervin was a sweet, gentle and kind man to me and everyone I know. He always told me that it wasn't worth wasting my energy worrying about why people did what they did or what they were thinking. He said it gave them control over you. Well, I can't help wondering about this. I'll never forget Mervin and just know he'll still be there with us all at our favorite gigs now and for

Name:   Geronimo  -  Sunday, Oct 24, 1999 at 02:30:19
Message:    My friend Mervin,you were always there for us and it will never be the same without you to discuss land sales and Texas Music.

Name:   Cindy (SABS)  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 17:16:07
Message:    Swervin' Mervin: You were the first person I met when I moved here from California. Leon Springs Cafe- 1989- John Hammond. After talking to you there I knew I had come to the right place to live and enjoy the music I love with people that love the same music. Saw you only two weeks ago at HEB picking up your meds and I was walking around like an idiot looking for my car. You came to the rescue in your jeep and helped me out. Makes me wish I could have been there for you when you needed someone the most. Always knew when I saw you I was at the right show. Hope you have found the peace you have been looking for. You will be missed by all. If the 3rd Coast Air Force had membership numbers you would be #00001! Now you are up there with Stevie, Janis, Patsy, Hank, Jimmy, etc. You are enjoying the best concert of your life! We love you.

Name:   Hillary Webb  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 14:08:51
Message:    What a blow to the heart... As a person who recently met Mervin, I will never forget his sweet smile and low voice asking for one of the "baby cokes" at Niles. For the few short hours I spent getting to know him, I felt close to him right away. I will miss seeing him swervin in...

Name:   Big Steve & Barblobo  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 13:02:55
Message:    we, also, are saddened and numbed by the loss of mervin.we didn't know him for a long time , chronologically , but felt as if we'd known him for years. every time we saw him he put a "grin" on our faces. we bonded with him one afternoon in helotes for a few hours - he told us lots of stories about himself and his experiences - we will always treasure that day, as well as the times he's come to casbeers and when we met up with him at various other places . he had also told us how lucky we were to have found each other - this really makes us realize that all of us are lucky to have each other and that no one should ever take anyone or anything for granted and that we should treasure every precious moment with each other.thank you mervin for being part of our lives - we will miss you and carry your memory in our hearts forever.

Name:   Miss Nursie  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 11:21:45
Message:    For as long as I've been attending live music events there has always been this tall, lanky guy in a black hat with a slow , lopsided smile hanging quietly in the background. From the nights at Doza's with Jerry Giddens in the house to CCCC, and The Cabaret in Bandera, to a fundraiser for Celebration Circle (Ray Wylie was the musical guest). I never knew just where I'd see him next! Always enjoyed his presence and looked upon him as an integral part of the music scene (or at least the one that interests me).
I don't know all the details of his life or death I just know that he will truely be missed by many of us out here.
I hope you have at least found peace from the demons that must have haunted you Mervin! You will always live on in the memories of those who knew you!

Name:   Esteban  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 11:16:52
Message:    Thank you RAMOS & Joe-X. I was the one that posted "Miss you already" & "It's not true, please," this early morning. Received a stunned call, shortly before. I was hoping that it was untrue. I didn't know him very well, at all. I just knew that "goofy sideways grin," as mentioned. He towered at least 10" taller than myself, but I remember asking who he was. I was told that he was the goofy looking guy in the boots, Hawaiian shirt & straw cowboy hat, right over there. I went to the men's room & saw somebody looking just like that in the mirror. We knew each other by sight & tipped said hats towards each other. I've felt pretty low at times and hope I don't end up relating too well. Please, don't blame yourselves, Joe-X & close friends! As you said, it must "have been the only way out he could see." Very sorry to hear of this news. I guess the only way to make the best of this is to remember the better times. Enjoy that silly grin (like it never left) and "the best of" parking lot stories that you'd let him tell you again. You know, the ones that you'd heard before, but would whisper-"you've gotta hear this one, honey." Let us know. It's a saddening shame. Hang in there, please. Joe-X & Brenda-X, I seem to remember that he was a bigtime Jerry Giddens fan. Maybe a good idea would be to play one of his favorites on your show, tomorrow. I bet that big 'ole goofy guy would appreciate it if you continued his sweethearted partying attitude. My bets go towards-he didn't do it to torture his good friends. He just couldn't see his way out.

Name:   Reba Scott  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 10:24:59
Message:    My dad(Ramos)called me with the news this morning and I, who can normaly talk for hours, have nothing to say. I just loved Merv and I know many, many others did as well. My heart goes out to him and all the others who can't see the forest for the trees. It must terrible to feel there is no up. I always felt home no matter what club I was at once I saw Merv slink in, I new I had made a good choice for the evening. God Bless you Merv, Rest well.

Name:   joe x.  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 09:58:38
Message:    Ya'll will have to excuse me if I am incoherent, as sleep last night was impossible. I'll try to get through this.

It is my sad duty to inform all who knew him of the passing of our good friend Mervin Bell.

Funeral arrangements have not been made, but will most probably be handled by Tri-Cities in Jourdanton. Mervin is survived by his mother, and an Uncle and Aunt, who live in California, and a legion of friends who loved him dearly.

Mervin was a gentle, sweet, old-soul, who's memory will live in all of us forever.
I personally will miss most his presence at my favorite clubs, always there with his goofy sideways grin and black hat. I'll miss seeing his black jeep parked in the lot. I'll miss his passion for the kind of music we love. I'll miss his friendship.....

Since learning of this early last evening, Brenda X. and I have gone through the gamut of emotions I suppose are normal. First dis-belief, then anger, then deep throbbing sadness. Now numbness.
What none of us that knew him and loved him can do is blame ourselves. Though all of us would give any thing we have to be given the opportunity to have changed his mind, this way was his decision, and must have been the only way out he could see.
I can only suppose that Mervin's load just became more than even his broad shoulders could carry.

One thing this ragged, tough little band of scrappers called Third Coast Air Force nurtures is a sense of family, and this loss hits at the very core of our community. Please remember this, and seek to give comfort where it is needed. I know I will need some time for this to heal. Right now I feel like I've been kicked in the nuts by a mule.
We will keep you informed, both on this BB, and on-air, of the arrangements for Mervin's burial.

In closing, I will ask that all of us remember Mervin and his family in your prayers, and these words by the immortal Townes Van Zandt:


Ribbons of love
Please keep me true sane
UntilI reach home on the morrow
Never never to waunder again
I'm weak and I'm weary of sorrow
London to Dublin
Australia to Perth
I gazed at your sky
I tasted your earth
Sung out my heart
For all it was worth
Never again shall I ramble

There's nowhere left
In this world where to go
My arms, my legs they're a'trimlin'
Thoughts both clouded and blue as the sky
Not even worth the remberin'

Now as I stumble
And reel to my bed
All that I've said
Means nothing to me
I'd as soon be dead
All of this world be forgotten

No words of comfort
No words of advice
Nothin' to offer a stranger
Gone the love, gone the spite
It just doesn't matter no longer

My sky's getting far
The ground's getting close
My self goin' crazy
The way that it does
I'd lie on my pillow
And sleep if I must

Too late to wish I'd been stronger
Too late to wish I'd been stronger

Name:   RAMOS  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 09:03:26
Message:    Mervin will be truly missed at CCCC. He was part of our family. The club won't be the same without him, It wasn't last night.

Name:   It's not true, please!  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 05:22:31
Message:    Tell me the information is wrong. I hope.

Name:   Miss you, already  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 04:28:36
Message:    Hope all is well, now.

Name:   Wbmnstr  -  Saturday, Oct 23, 1999 at 00:05:30
Message:    Mervin Bell, aka Swervin Mervin, died today. I don't know what else to say now.