Herman C. Bell, 93, plasterer, World War II veteran

April 07, 2006

Herman C. Bell, a retired plasterer and World War II veteran who followed the Maryland racing scene, died of dementia Sunday at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. He was 93 and had lived in Carney for many years.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Dillon Street in Canton, he attended school until the eighth grade.

He developed a love of horses as a young man and won an amateur riding trophy at age 17. He trained and owned horses, one named Star Turn. Throughout his life, he had an affection for Pimlico, and he attended the annual Maryland Million.

Drafted into the Army in 1942, Mr. Bell trained in veterinary medicine and served under the Chinese Combat Command in China, Burma and India in World War II.

A proficient marksman, Mr. Bell earned several medals, including the Special Breast Order of Yun Hui from the Chinese government and the Bronze Star. He attained the rank of staff sergeant.

Family members said Mr. Bell was a plasterer and a drywall hanger and finisher. He started a company in the 1950s and ran it until the mid-1960s, they said. After that, he worked for Montgomery Ward's home improvements division until his 1975 retirement.

Mr. Bell was a founding member of the Northside Athletic Club, an organization that sponsored fast- and slow-pitch softball teams from the 1950s through the 1990s. The team won numerous titles and tournaments. He was a catcher and first baseman, and was a team manager until he was 80.

In 1965, Mr. Bell received a commendation from the Baltimore County Department of Public Safety for "keeping a workman's head clear and above ground" after a ditch cave-in near his home.

Mr. Bell's wife of almost 57 years, the former Dorothy M. Kohls, a real estate agent, died in 1995.

Survivors include two daughters, Barbara A. Van Horn of Carney and Kimberly A. Gust of Parkville; and a granddaughter.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. today at Stella Maris Chapel, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road.

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