BELL, JOHN LOUIS, a retired civil engineer and partner at Rummel, Klepper & Kahl (RK&K), died peacefully on April 28, surrounded by his family. Born in 1922 in Charleston, S.C., John completed one year at Wofford College and graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy with a Reserve Commission in the Navy in 1944. That year, he married his childhood sweetheart, Lina Moorer Bell, and was deployed in World War II. He served as Engineering Officer on a destroyer in the Pacific, the U.S.S. Dale ("The Mighty Dale," in his words). He earned five Battle Stars and was discharged from the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant in 1955. During a distinguished, four-decade career at RK&K, John was resident engineer on local buildings, bridges, and highways, including work on the Jones Falls Expressway and Frederick's River Walk Park. In 1964, he opened and ran RK&K's branch office in Raleigh, N.C. He returned to Baltimore as a partner in 1974 and led major projects like the Baltimore to Annapolis Transportation Study, which led to the construction of I-97. An inventor, woodworker, and machinist, John held at least four patents, including a "Neck Saver" for Bi-focal Glasses and a Stratified Charge Internal Combustion Engine. After forty-one years together, John lost his wife to cancer in 1985. John and Lina's legacy includes three daughters, Jane Belew, Barbara Brown, and Susan Knisely; six grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren. John also leaves behind his best friend and companion, Margaret Valeria Jones, with whom it had been his good fortune to make a home together since 1989.
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Published in The Capital on May 4, 2014