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William Donald Bell


1925 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
William Donald Bell Obituary
WILLIAM DONALD BELL, known as Don, died at age 90 on October 24, 2015 in Riverside, CA, from complications of pneumonia. He was born on April 28, 1925 and grew up on Houghton Avenue in Riverside. His mother was Miriam Wilson Bell and his father was David Smith Bell, general manager of the L.V.W. Brown packing house in Highgrove. At a young age Don and his older brother David Jr. learned the value of hard work by helping in the orange groves while also enjoying the joys of an old-fashioned childhood. A graduate of Riverside Polytechnic High School, Don attended USC for a semester and then, in March 1944, enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was quickly promoted to lieutenant, a position he excelled in once his superiors cured him of his soft-spoken voice by giving him yelling lessons in the middle of the night. Returning home from World War II, he finished his degree at USC, only to be recalled to the Korean War. His future wife, Elizabeth "Betty" Westfall, said he was so nice and kind, she knew he wouldn't make it back in one piece. He surprised her by surviving. The two eloped to Las Vegas in 1955, and three years later had twin girls. Don entered the contracting field and eventually established W.D. Bell Inc. in Riverside. Drawing on his Scottish Presbyterian background and his natural productivity, Don grew the business into a successful property development and management company. He became a respected business leader and enjoyed going to work until after his 90th birthday. He and Betty traveled the world, satisfying their shared intellectual curiosity. Don was well versed on almost any topic, from bestsellers to pre-Columbian art to Cartesian philosophy. When Betty died in 1996, he found love again, marrying Janet Hubbard Bell. The two enjoyed almost 20 years of travel and family life together. He is survived by his wife, Janet Hubbard Bell; two children, Alison Bell Rainey and Alexa Bell Foster; two stepchildren, Ann Hubbard Cardullo and Peter Hubbard; six grandchildren and six step-grandchildren. A memorial will be held for Don on November 21, 2015 at 10:00 am at the First Congregational Church located at 3504 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside. The community is invited to come celebrate his long, well-lived life.
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Published in Press-Enterprise from Nov. 12 to Nov. 15, 2015
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