Richard (Dick) Deane Bell
Richard was born May 28, 1928, in Sidney, Montana, to Adolph ‘Duff” and Emma Quilling Bell.
He was raised in Sidney and graduated from Sidney High School in 1946. He went to Havre Normal School for one year and at age 19 “Mr. Bell” began teaching in a one room country school house in Enid, Montana. During the winter of 1949, while living in the teacherage he was snowed in and walked to some of his students homes to give their lessons. Also during that long cold winter, he learned of the Dave Minor Chorus, ordered it and learned to play the piano. He played at his son, Todd’s restaurants and at nursing homes after his teaching career. Other country schools he taught at were Moore and Ridgelawn. He spent several summers attending Montana Normal School in Dillon, Montana, earning his Masters in Education.
In the early 1950s at Lambert he taught 7th and 8th grades, all subjects and coached high school basketball and track. His team won the Class C District tournament in 1958, the first time in years. He received the Nick’s Picks award in 1959 for Best Coach of the Year. In 1959 he accepted the high school varsity Class B basketball coach position for one year in Circle. He subsequently accepted the Elementary School Principal position at Bo-Peep Elementary School in Circle, and was in that position five years.
He was offered and accepted the position of Elementary School Principal in Bridger in 1966 and was in that position for 15 years. “Mr. Bell” retired on May 22, 1980. On May 25, 1991, Richard married the love of his life, Jena De Haven.
He was a true Montanan and outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting, rock-collecting and wood-working. He also was very handy and was known so be able to fix just about anything. He said, “I can fix anything but a broken heart.”
He was preceded in death by his parents, Duff and Emma Bell, and his step-daughters, Susan and Kristi Belle. He is survived by his wife, Jena; sons, Deane (Laurie) Bell and Todd (Karen) Bell; grandchildren, Christopher (Jamie), Michael Bell, Amanda Bell Gleason, Marci Bell Kokkeler (Kurt); 4 great grandchildren; brother, Robert (Joan); sister, Betty Kay Bell Olson. He also is survived by many other family members and friends.
Richard’s family wishes to thank all those who blessed his life with their friendship and care. He will be dearly missed by a multitude of family and friends. You are invited to add memories and comments at www.cfgbillings.com through “Our Families.”
A Celebration of Life service for Richard will be held Tuesday, July 21, 1:30 at Cremation and Funeral Gallery followed by a reception at Fort Rockvale for friends and family. Burial will take place at the Sidney Cemetery with a memorial gathering for family and friends on Wednesday, July 22, at 2:30. Following the committal, a lunch will be served at the Assembly of God Church.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Bridger Elementary School.
and designated toward the purchase of an “Electronic Message Board” for
Bridger Elementary School
106 North 4th Street
Bridger, MT 59014