Harry LaVern Bell, age 95, passed away Thursday, December 24, 2020 at his home in Hinckley, Utah. He was born on July 27, 1925 in Ladysmith, Wisconsin to Henry Clay and Helen Borwig Bell. He was the oldest of four children. When Harry was a year old, the family moved to Chatham, Illinois and lived in the Bell family home, built by his grandparents. When Harry was 12 years old, his father, a painter and decorator, was offered work in Pendleton, Oregon; and the family moved west. Harry’s father painted, papered and decorated all the rooms n the Temple Hotel in Pendleton.
Harry attended Pendleton High School. During his senior year, he and two buddies felt they needed to join the armed forces. World War II had been going on for two years by that time. In March of 1943, two months short of graduation, Harry finally talked his father into signing for him to join the United States Navy. Boys aged 17 to 21 were considered as being on a “Kiddie Cruise”; Harry being only 17 years old at the time.
Harry reported to Farragut, Idaho Naval Training Center. In June of 1943, he reported to Aviation Machinist School in Norman, Oklahoma. Upon graduation in November, he was sent to the Lockheed Aircraft Plant in Burbank, California. He graduated in December and reported to the Naval Receiving Station in Norfolk, Virginia. All this valuable aircraft mechanic training would serve Harry the rest of his life.
From Norfolk, sailed traveled to Recife, Brazil where he was stationed for one and one-half years maintaining Naval Aircraft. In May of 1945, he returned to the United States via New Orleans. He spent a week there and than transferred to Norfolk, VA awaiting orders to be sent to the Pacific. As the war was coming to an end at this time, the orders were cancelled and they were given 30 days leave before reporting to Naval Receiving Station, Bremerton, Washington. From there Harry was sent to Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington, where he again maintained aircraft. He was there until his honorable discharge in August 1946.
Now back home in Pendleton, Harry went to work for Pacific Tel & Tel as an installer/repairman for seven years. During this time he earned a commercial pilot’s certificate. Wanting to fly, Harry left the telephone company and flew commercial piloting or two years. About this time Harry was hired by the FAA and reported to Dagget, California for training. This job required several moves including Chief in Ely, Nevada and watch supervisor at Los Angeles Airport. Harry eventually decided to take a demotion to return to Las Vegas where he continued his career until his retirement, having served thirty years in government.
Early in the year of 1978, some friends introduced Harry to an elegant woman at the Las Vegas Bridge Club. A close friendship developed between he and Helen Jean Christensen. Harry liked to take Helen flying with him in his Mooney Aircraft and they enjoyed many trips to Oregon, Utah, Arizona and California. Harry lived in Henderson, and Helen lived in Las Vegas. They applied for a Clark County Marriage License, but decided it would be fun to (elope) fly to Ely. Arriving in Ely, they persuaded the Judge to leave his outing on the golf course and get them hitched. They were married in the Ely Court House on August 26, 1978. Then they flew off on a short honeymoon, as both had jobs they were needed for back in Las Vegas.
Harry soon became a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Harry served as High Priests Secretary and Bishop’s Executive Secretary. Harry and Helen were happy to have their marriage solemnized in the beautiful Las Vegas Temple. Soon after, they were called to serve a mission at the Las Vegas Family History Center.
In 1985, Helen and Harry both retired from their jobs and enjoyed many travels in their motorhome. In 1994, they decided to relocate to Hinckley, Utah. They continued to enjoy being active in the church and the Hinckley community. Harry served as Hinckley Lions Club President, and was chosen Lion of the Year in 1997. Helen also served as 24th of July Parade Chairwoman for four years.
Harry is survived by his stepson: F. Kim Taylor, Hinckley; stepdaughter: Sandra (Parley) Taylor Call, Las Vegas, Nevada; 5 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren; sisters: Mary Jean Spurgeon, Pendleton, Oregon and Doris Dodd, Reno Nevada. Preceded in death by his younger brother: Henry Clay Bell Jr. Harry was devoted to his wife and her two children, Kim and Sandy, and loved each moment spent with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His eternal sweetheart preceded him in death on February 24, 2020. They did not want to be separated for Christmas; so on Christmas Eve, Harry went home to Helen. They are now together forever.
A Graveside Service with military rites will be held on Saturday, January 2, at 12:00 noon at the Oasis Cemetery. Condolences may be left at www.nicklemortuary.com