Roland Wayne Bell, 90, of Rich Hill, Mo., died Wednesday, July 13, 2011, at Mercy Health Center in Fort Scott, Kan. He was born Aug. 22, 1920, in rural Rich Hill, Mo., the son of Lewis and Sylva Lee (Goodrum) Bell. He attended school at New Home country school and graduated in 1937 from Rich Hill High School.
On Feb. 23, 1946, in Topeka, Kan., Roland was married to Willetta "Letta Jo" Cox. To this marriage were born two sons, Dennis and Randy. He lived with his family on the farm west of Rich Hill where he engaged in farming with his brother Donald, first with a dairy herd and later beef cattle. He was active in the American Legion, served many years on the Rich Hill School Board and was involved with 4-H. He was a member of the Methodist Church in Foster, later attending the Rich Hill United Methodist Church after the Foster church closed.
Roland was preceded in death by his wife, Letta Jo, in 2001; his parents; two brothers, Harold Bell and Donald Bell; and one sister, Virginia (Bell) Bradley. He is survived by his two sons, Dennis and wife, Pam, of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Randy and wife, Ellen of Rich Hill; one sister, Pauline (Bell) Bradley, of Rich Hill; four grandchildren, Katie Bell-Abend and husband, Doug, of Rich Hill, Marc Bell and wife, Alison, of Rich Hill, Chris Bell and wife, Sarah, of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Eric Bell of Lee's Summit, Mo.; seven great-grandchildren, Noell and Juliana Abend, Sydney, Carter and Leanna Bell, Ryan and Jack Bell; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Grandaughter Katie commented, "He worked hard, cared deeply and was successful in every sense of the word. There was no place he would rather be than on his farm, whether he was putting up hay, milking cows early in the morning or sitting with family enjoying summer evenings. We will miss his stories and his smile." The words of his granddaughter-in-law Alison also say it well, "Tonight, one of the kindest, wisest, sweetest, hardest working men I ever knew passed away ... it was his time to rest."
Funeral services are Saturday, July 16, at 10 a.m., at the Heuser Funeral Home, Rich Hill, with the Rev. Mark Kailbourn officiating. Casketbearers are Marc Bell, Eric Bell, Robert Bradley, Chris Bell, David Bradley and Bill Bradley. Honorary casketbearers are Hank Wheeler, Merlin Reed, Jim Bradley, Ernest Board, Glenn Board and Don Bradley.
Interment will be in Greenlawn Cemetery, Rich Hill, with military rites provided by American Legion Post No. 67.
Arrangements are made by the Heuser Funeral Home, Rich Hill.