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John E. Bell

John Edward Bell passed away in March of 2004. He was born on July 7, 1915, in Haakon County, SD. His parents were James and Velva Bell, who were homesteading pioneers. He had two older sisters, Hazel and Lucile, and one younger sister, Boneta.

The kids were raised on a farm and, as a boy, John helped with all of the chores, tending livestock and looking after the land. He attended grade school in a one-room schoolhouse, getting to and from school in a horse drawn wagon with his sisters, often through deep snow.

When he got older, he joined the CCC and worked on building parks and other public works projects.

He attended South Dakota State University and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. While in school, John met and married Florence Mansholt.

After graduating college in 1943, John took a position with Fairbanks Morse in Beloit, WI. During the war, he worked there testing diesel engines used in submarines. It was there that he and Florence had two sons: Gary in 1946 and Rodney in 1949.

In 1953, John and his family moved to Hillsboro, OR, where Florence’s mother, Anna Mohler, lived. John took a job as a mechanical engineer with ESCO Corporation in 1954 (from where he retired in 1986). After he and Florence had another son, Marlan in 1955, they moved into a house that John built in Beaverton, OR.

Over the following 49 years, John was involved in his church, St. Andrew Lutheran, the Masonic Lodge, Boy Scouts of America, Meals-On-Wheels, and Loaves and Fishes. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, leatherwork, clock making, and cabinet making.

He is survived by his wife, Florence, and sons, Gary, Rodney, and Marlan.