Cover photo for Dorian Milton Bell's Obituary
Dorian Milton Bell Profile Photo

Dorian Milton Bell

October 26, 1929 — March 24, 2016

Dorian Milton Bell

Biography and Reflection of Dorian Milton Bell

Born on October 26, 1929 to his goodly parents, Milton Smith Bell and Jeanne Alice Racine, Dad grew up alongside his 3 younger brothers, Melvin, Glen and Richard while being taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Fully committed to the God he loved, Dad entered the Livingston, Montana River where he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 8. Taking upon himself the name Jesus Christ, Dad would go on to become a forever missionary in one form or another, ultimately, wearing his 'Elder Bell' badge for over six decades.  In his journal of July 3, 1992, he records, "I have so many missionary experiences (I figure a 1,000 or more in the last 7 or 8 years alone.)"  For any salesmen, that is an impressive, respectable number.  (1949-1951-Full-time mission to North Central States Mission-respectively Minnesota and Sioux Falls North Dakota;  1993-1997 Fremont California Stake Mission serving with his eternal companion, Marian Alice Bell, and again in 1999-2000 at the Employment Center, Fremont, CA Regional Office.)

While serving on his first mission in Minnesota, Dad taught and baptized Evelyn (Evy) Edvina Minzghor.  After two years of service, Elder Bell returned home to his parents in Salt Lake City, Utah where he began attending the University of Utah.  Shortly after his return, the beautiful, new convert, Evy, moved to Utah with her sister (another convert of dad's) and began a courtship that led to a civil ceremony on October 12, 1951 in Salt Lake City, Utah (1951-1973).  This union was later sealed in the LDS temple and blessed with 6 children - all of whom he loved dearly (David, Susan, Karen, Pamela, Annette and Diane). Early in their 22 year marriage, Dorian received a draft letter from the U.S. Army.  The idea of not having a reliable bed to sleep in each night troubled Dad enough that he approached the U.S. Navy and was accepted into active duty, where he served as a Hospital Corpsman, graduating with honors from the school of the same name (1952-1954, Maryland).  Recognizing the importance of education, Dad went on to finish his Bachelor's degree in Education with a Sociology major, Psychology minor and his Master's degree in Social Work (1958) - quite an accomplishment for a 29 year old, who had four small children and worked full-time.  Social work at Children's Home Society of Washington and pharmaceutical sales for Abbott Laboratory provided the financial means to support his family until debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis qualified 6'2", 215 lb. brown eyed, full -lipped, Dad for permanent disability, expediting retirement in his late 30's.

Single, Fremont, CA resident, polyester pant, long sleeve- button down shirt wearing Dad (easier for him to get on and off with his arthritis) attended a LDS church dance where he recounts joyfully dancing with Marian Alice Davis, who had a 'nice configuration'. After a courtship and introduction to her 3 children (Marjean, Jon and Jill Hansen), they were sealed in the Oakland LDS Temple on November 1, 1975. Together, they created a world of love and acceptance, beautifully blending their two families, with the exclamation point being the birth of daughter Jennifer (Jenny).  As a testament to the love and respect the Hansen children had developed, each of us chose, as adults, to be sealed to Dad and Mom. Unified in their conservative political and religious beliefs, Dad and Mom enjoyed their membership in the Republican Party (Dad served on the advisory committee for a state assemblyman & attended regular Republican events in the 80's), John Birch Society and the LDS church.  (Interesting side note: With exception of briefly serving as Ward Clerk (1964), Sunday School Superintendent, and stake explorer leader, Dad generally served in missionary related callings.  He reported he never served in Primary, Young Men's or Elder's quorum.)  The family home at 5177 Roycroft Way, Fremont, CA where they resided for approx. 31 years, became home base for all, including those who rented the one room studio that was attached (a never-ending stress, yet very appreciated income for retired Dad.) Known for his daily walks around the block, and friendliness, Dad was a regular feature of the Fremont neighborhood.

Advancing in age, Dad was proactive in staying active physically, mentally and socially. With the release of home computers, Dad enrolled in computer classes, going on to serve as a docent in the public library to teach others how to use the computer.  He kept up with the youth, creating a Facebook account and sent daily emails to hundreds that he believed were uplifting or informative.  He maintained a regular membership at a gym where he soaked his arthritic body, did his long-deep lunges and used his outgoing, confident personality to strike up conversations about the church.  He enrolled in Ohlone Community College taking a religion class, and participated in the community Story Telling Class for a time - both with the intention to share stories from the Book of Mormon & clear up misconceptions about the LDS faith (which he did consistently.) He attended the temple routinely and when able, completed two sessions in a row.  Luncheons were eaten regularly at the Senior Citizens center and more friendships formed. The onset of Parkinson's Disease at 74 did not stop Dad.  Again, being proactive, he and Mom (who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's around the same time) started a new chapter in their lives, moving to Utah to be near 4 of their children.

Next to the gospel, family, and the chocolate he loved, money, specifically getting a good deal, came next in importance... some may argue it was the reverse.  Provident living was Dad's only way.  As a child born three days before the "Black Market" and being raised during the depression in his childhood, Dad understood what it meant to go without.  As a child, he survived the freezing winters of Utah by huddling with his brothers in one bed to sleep, as there was no central heating.  My parents, he recalled, "Though loving and generous, they never had anything to show for it.  I ate bread and milk for dinner and for dessert, bread and milk with sugar or cream." Many lives have been impacted by his perspective and provident living.  Countless missionaries were able to serve a mission with Dad and Mom's generous contributions.  He always paid a 'full tithe' of 10% of his income and always gave a generous fast offering.

Dad was a simple man.  He wore the same 'Old Coat' for 30 years and his brown house slippers for even longer.  He valued efficiency.  If it could be done easier or more effectively, he would fill your ear with how, or use tactics like signing birthday cards with "I concur", referencing Mom's written remarks.  Dad was a family man who never wanted to miss a minute of with his visiting family, or limit the length of a visit in one of their homes.

A few years ago, when I asked Dad his favorite motto, instantly he replied, "Be Kind".  The scripture he always attached to his email signature was "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness." (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27)

Dad believed that families were forever.  He believed in the power and hope of the infinite atonement. He believed that a man could get closer to God by reading the Book of Mormon than by any other means.  He was well acquainted with grief and suffering and bore his cross with remarkable patience. He is now reunited with his daughter Pam, brother Glen, grandson Johnny, parents, relatives and friends. Through his life, Dad has engraven the Savior's name on his heart and will forever be one of His faithful servants - he no longer needs to wear his 'Elder Bell' badge.  His passing on March 24, 2016 simply marks his transfer to a new area.  Mis-sion-ary (noun) has been defined as 'Someone who leaves their family for a short time so that others may be with their family for eternity.' Go get 'em Dad!  Your legacy of love, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness, kindness, provident living and chocolate consuming will continue in your honor.  We love you!

By Jill (Hansen) Guinn - March 25, 2016

Recording of Service

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