Obituary: Robert Lee Bell

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Robert (Bob) Lee Bell (Courtesy photo)

Bob was born in Sedalia, Mo. on Dec. 2, 1940, to parents Robert Lee Bell Sr. and Ella Gertrude Smith Bell. He was the oldest of five children. Bob’s K–12 education, was entirely in segregated schools, though he developed and maintained diverse lifelong friendships. During his high school years, Bob learned to play the piano and the trumpet, but he taught himself to play the bass. His love of the bass would become his forever music passion for 66 years.

After high school, Bob joined the Air Force and played in jazz groups wherever he was stationed or in school; throughout the US, Europe and Southeast Asia. Well known for his talented quick-fingering, Bob was always in demand with multiple bands in the Bay Area and Sacramento.

Bob left the Air Force and joined Golden 1 Credit Union in 1969. During those 32 years, Bob’s knowledge of finance and planning helped the Credit Union open 63 of its (then 64) branches. He retired in 2002 and launched into planting a new orchard at Bell Ranch, established by him and Marlene in 1990.

Farming and community service gave him great satisfaction. He was an active member of Kiwanis of Greater Davis for 30 years. He served as a commissioner for Winters Fire Dept. for 16 years and on the Winters Senior Foundation board for eight years, most recently as its secretary.

Bob left us on Jan. 13, 2023, after a 15-year battle with cancer. Bob is survived by his wife of 47 years, Marlene Bell; daughter Lisa Bell Matty; son-in-law Eric of Lincoln, Neb.; grandchildren Denver and Ariana; son Maurice Bell and daughter-in-law Ruth Bell of Haltom City Texas; grandchildren Briana, Mahogany (Cedric) Kaya, Neveah, Melody and Jeffrey; daughter Sharaine Bell, son-in-law Idan Levin of Oakland, Calif.; grandchildren Arad, Scott, and Tavor; his standard poodles Maya and Nikki.

With full honors, Bob will be interned at a private burial service to be held at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.

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