January 7, 1924 — November 16, 2019
Dr. John Bell (“just John”, he would remind people) was within a few weeks of his 96th birthday when he passed away, simply from old age - surrounded by many of his family. He benefited from the exercise of a farm life, the 10th Mountain Division in WWII, and years of thrashing younger people on the racquetball court. Some of you who have attended the OSU timber cruising short course will have experienced this. Even so, the body eventually wears out. We will miss him.
Dick Dilworth at OSU had the good sense to hire John away from the Oregon State Department of Forestry in 1959. John introduced Variable Plot Sampling to Western North America by his teaching. He was also one of the first to see the potential of 3P sampling in the 60’s, and did his PhD on the topic. Those of us who work on the John Bell Newsletter also helped John teach the OSU Variable Probability Short Course during the last 50 of the 62 years of the course, and several courses in far-flung places -- missing only 2 of the continents with trees.
John had a large family, and each year was pretty much spoken for when you considered graduations, weddings, new babies, housewarmings and family reunions. There is a long list of grandchildren and great grandchildren. John loved his family, and he loved to travel. His wife, Myrna (who he always called “my bride”) and all his children are still with us.
John was one of the founders of the “Western Mensuration” group, which still gathers yearly, and many of his graduate students help to keep it going and are an influence to forest inventory development. John’s book about timber cruising is still widely used. He was a man whose work will outlive the limitations of the body.
John was constantly referred to as “a gentleman”, and it was difficult to even imagine a harsh word being spoken about the man. That is quit a rare thing.
To so many of you who attended the short courses and have met John over the years, we are sure that he would want us to pass on his best wishes one last time.
The Newsletter Team
Kim Iles, Dave Marshall, Greg Johnson
An obituary can be found at HERE.
If you would like to send the family a note, you can use this address:
C/O Marilyn Mason
219 Sell Lane
Richland, WA 99352