Long-time Sparboe Foods manager Gary Bell died recently died. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary’s family as they mourn his death. All of us at Sparboe Foods and Sparboe Farms will miss our dear friend and mentor,” said Beth Sparboe Schnell, president, Sparboe Foods.

Originally from southwest Minnesota, Bell grew up in a small agricultural community where his father owned a meat locker. By 1961, Bell began work for Land O’ Lakes operating a portable feed mill. It wasn’t long after he was hired that the company needed someone to run the night shift of their egg operation. Bell was the perfect fit.

When Land O’ Lakes bought a grading and breaking plant in Estherville, Bell got his first taste of the breaking business as plant manager. After a few jobs, including a stint where he owned his own egg operation, Bell found himself starting up Calmar Foods breaking plant — previously owned by Yoder Feeds — with his son, Shane. Though he knew Bob Sparboe by association, it wasn’t until Sparboe bought Calmar Foods that Bell began work as general manager of the Foods division for Sparboe in 1996.

“Gary was always willing to share his thoughts and like many others in this industry, his word was his bond and he treated others as he would expect to be treated. Gary had his own way of doing business; recording trades in his spiral notebook and computing conversion values, yields and pricing in his head. His business sense, integrity, honesty and unwavering devotion are characteristics Gary lived by that we will always remember,” said Sparboe Schnell.