Dr. Rondal Edward Bell of Edmond, Okla., died in his home after a brief illness, on March 5, 2017 at age 83.
Dr. Bell was a son of Cecil Edward Bell and Lola Nadine Cumpton Bell of Kennett, Dunklin County, Mo. He was born near Kennett December 29, 1933. An exceptional athlete and scholar, he graduated from Kennett High School in 1951 and received many scholarship offers. Ever practical, he chose William Jewell College because it offered a guaranteed four-year football scholarship regardless of injury. It was a fateful choice.
While studying and playing varsity football and baseball at William Jewell, he met his beloved future wife, Phyllis Anne Rose, a daughter of Thomas Ivan Rose and Anna Hannah Edwards Rose of St. Joseph, Mo. He and Phyllis married July 23, 1954 at First Presbyterian Church, Liberty, Mo. He graduated with an A.B. in Biology from William Jewell in 1955. For two years, he served in the U.S. Army. Sent to Baumholder, Germany, he served as a radio operator assigned to the 29th Tank Battalion, 2nd Armored Division.
In 1957, he and Phyllis moved to Albuquerque, N.M. where he resumed his studies at the University of New Mexico. In 1960 he received his Master of Science in Biology, with a focus on physiology and microbiology. While earning that degree, he and Phyllis had their first child, a son named Blake Allen Bell.
In 1960, the family moved to Jackson, Miss. where Ron became an Assistant Professor of Biology at Millsaps College. Soon, he and Phyllis had their second child, a daughter named Tracy Lynne Bell. He quickly was promoted to Associate Professor. In 1967 he took a one-year leave of absence to enroll in the Ph.D. program at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. Upon his return to Millsaps, while continuing work on his thesis and continuing to publish his research, he became Chairman of the Biology Department as an Associate Professor. In 1971 he completed his doctoral thesis "Immunological and Biochemical Aspect of Hormonally Induced Polyarteritis Nodosa," received his Ph.D. in Biology, and earned tenure as a Professor of Biology and Chairman of the Biology Department at Millsaps.
In 1978, Dr. Bell left Millsaps to become Dean of the College and a Professor of Biology at Central Methodist College (now Central Methodist University) in Fayette, Mo. where he maintained a limited teaching load. During his fourteen-year tenure at Central he also had post-graduate studies during summers at Carnegie-Mellon University. He left Central to become Dean of the Faculty at Phillips University in Enid, Okla. As he edged toward retirement, in late 1993 he and his wife moved to Edmond and he joined the Omniplex Science Museum (now the Science Museum Oklahoma) in Oklahoma City where he served as Program Coordinator until he retired.
In addition to his Masters and Doctoral theses, Dr. Bell authored and co-authored nearly a dozen published academic papers. He also received multiple National Science Foundation fellowship awards and grants to further his research.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Phyllis Anne Rose Bell; sister, Julia Rose Bell Smith of Vienna, Va.; brother, Richard Allen Bell, married to Catharine Jeanne Wilkey, both of Kennett, Mo.; son Blake Allen Bell, married to Janice Faye Ingram, both of Pelham Manor, N.Y.; daughter Tracy Lynne Bell Frevert, married to Donald Alan Frevert, both of Columbia, Mo. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Brett Ingram Bell, Jennifer Anne Bell, Samantha Rose Frevert Decker, married to Trent Michael Decker, both of Tulsa, Okla., and Stephanie Lynne Frevert Bernard, married to Ryan Karl Bernard, both of Ashland, Mo. He is further survived by three great-grandchildren: Colt Michael Decker, Jax Alan Decker, and Reagan Lynne Bernard.
Cremation will follow. The family is grateful for condolences, but graciously declines flowers and donations.
Published on March 8, 2017