Francis "Frank" West Bell was born in Milledgeville, Georgia on March 12, 1906. Bell attended Georgia Military College and the University of Georgia, where he earned his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1927. Bell also carried out post-graduate work at Columbia University.
After passing the state bar examination, Bell began to practice law in Milledgeville. He worked for a short period as an attorney for Georgia Power Company and then entered private practice where he concentrated on real estate law. He served as a judge in the Milledgeville Municipal Court, was president of the Milledgeville Banking Company, and was also chairman of the Baldwin County Hospital Board of Trustees. Bell was a member of the Georgia and Ocmulgee Bar Associations and of the First Methodist Church of Milledgeville. He entered semi-retirement in the mid-1970s and continued to work on occasional cases. He also collected real estate records related to Baldwin County to supplement the files accumulated during his practice.
Bell married Margarette Napier Bell in 1932, who died on Nov. 26, 1974. The couple had two children and four grandchildren. After his first wife's death, Bell married Virginia Cooper Bell, who died on Feb. 26, 1983. Bell died on Oct. 30, 1986 and is buried in Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville.