Ronald Claude Bell was born on March 22, 1940, in St. Francis, KS, and was raised on the family farm two miles east of McDonald. He was the second of three children born to Loren “Claude” and Marie Appel Bell. Ron died on February 12, 2023, at Prairie Senior Nursing Home, Colby, KS, at the age of 82.
Ron attended McDonald grade school and graduated from McDonald High School in 1958. He attended Kansas State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Electrical Engineering, class of 1962.
Ron and Cheryl “Cherry” met at Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je in 1962. Ron and Cherry were married at the Pleasant Home Church north of Edson on March 17, 1963, amidst Ron’s move from Los Angeles to New York. The move to New York was their honeymoon. They were married 59 years.
Ron started his career with an offer to work for North American Aviation before graduation from KSU. His work for them would include his work on inertial navigation systems of the Polaris Submarines in the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard in New York. Ron and Cherry moved back to the family farm in 1965, when they learned Cherry was pregnant with their first child and Ron decided that New York was no place to raise children. They started their family seven miles south of McDonald and had three sons, Charles Jay, James Ronald and Robert Claude Bell.
Ron was a man of many talents. Ron received his love of flying from his father, Claude. He learned to fly an airplane by instrument at the age of 7, before he could look over the panel of the plane. He learned and developed his love of woodworking when the family hired a carpenter to build a new home on the farmstead when he was 13.
Education and innovation were core values for Ron. Passing on his knowledge to his boys was very important to him and the skills he taught them set them up for their lives’ work. He spent approximately 10 years serving on the McDonald School Board. He also had a devotion for serving his community through health care volunteering. He sat on the Atwood hospital board for 17 years, volunteered as an EMT in McDonald for approximately 30 years, and acted as an EMT training officer during many of those years.
Preceding Ron in death were his parents, Claude and Marie Bell, and his brother, Charles. Surviving family members are his wife, Cherry; sons Charles, James, and wife Debbie, Robert, and wife Mindy; grandchildren, Tilyn and Selah Bell, and Daniel and Kristen Bell; his sister, Mary Herbel; and nieces and nephews, Loren Senior, and wife Amy, Mollie, and her husband Brian Rall, and Marie Herbel, as well as many great nieces and nephews.
A few words on paper cannot begin to tell the life of Ron or what he meant to many people, but we know he left a great void that cannot be filled. His laughter was contagious, and his sense of humor brightened the day of everyone he came into contact with. He will be missed by all those whose lives he touched.
A Memorial Service will take place at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 18, 2023, at the Federated Church of McDonald, with burial in Grace Cemetery, McDonald. Memorials may be made to the McDonald EMS and sent in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701. For information or condolences visit www.baalmannmortuary.com
Flowers may be ordered from:
Atwood Floral & Gifts
204 South 4th Atwood KS 67730
Phone: (785) 626-3675
The Classic Rose
116 Washington St St. Francis KS 67756
Phone: (785) 332-2200