OBITUARY

Ralph K. Bell

January 27, 1915May 20, 2014
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Ralph K. Bell, 99 of Clarksville, died Tuesday, May 20, 2014 in his home. He was born January 27, 1915 at home on the Bell Family Farm, Clarksville, Greene County, PA, a son of the late Harold Kennedy Bell and Harriett Gaddis Luse. Harold K. Bell was a recognized Master Farmer of Pennsylvania in the early 1950’s, and the Bell and Luse families were among the first settlers of Greene County. Mr. Bell was a 1938 graduate of Penn State University. On September 2, 1939 he married Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Kern (from State College) and they owned and operated the Bell Farm, raising chickens, sheep, and Christmas trees. Surviving are two children, David Kern Bell and his wife Ruth of State College, and Joan Bell Pattison and her husband Donald of Fort Myers, FL; two grandsons, Cristian David Bell and his wife Leah, and Luke David Pattison. Deceased in addition to his wife, Betty, who died October 16, 1995, are his brother, Frank Heaton Bell; his sister, Esther Bell Tuckish Cordray; and his grandson, Grant Charles Pattison. Mr. Bell was a member of the Jefferson Presbyterian Church, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Fort Jackson Chapter, Greene County Soil Conservation; Ralph K. Bell Bird Club; Eastern Bird Banding Association; Brooks Bird Club; Izaak Walton League; Three Rivers Birding Club; PA Society for Ornithology; Purple Martin Conservation Society and many other organizations. He founded the Allegheny Front Migration Observatory (AFMO), September 18, 1958. AFMO is the oldest, continuous running bird banding station in North America. In 2002, on site at AFMO, Dolly Sods, WV, the West Virginia Public Broadcasting System, filmed a documentary of Mr. Bell regarding his founding of AFMO. Mr. Bell began studying birds around the age of 12, and kept records from that time on. He obtained his Bird Banding Master Permit in 1954. Over the years he had 15 sub permitees, whom he mentored for their Bird Banding Permit. As of May 2013, Mr. Bell had banded 142,255 birds, and had 1,481 recoveries. Mr. Bell was given the PA Game Commission Certificate of Appreciation in 2006, in recognition of over 50 years of unparalleled service. “Your exemplary achievement in bird banding, bird research and providing homes for wildlife is truly inspirational to everyone who has a love and appreciation for the natural world”. Mr. Bell was given the John and Norah Lane Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Bluebird Conservation by an Individual”, from the North American Bluebird Society, in 1983 (at that time Bell had over 250 bluebird nest boxes in Greene County that he monitored, kept records, and banding the nestlings and some adults. Mr. Bell was awarded the US Department of Forest Service 2003 Volunteer Award of the Year for 46 years of outstanding dedication and service; the PA Society for Ornithology Earl Poole Award in 1998; the 2006 Purple Martin Preservation Alliance Award “For a Lifetime of Dedication to Purple Martin Conservation in Western PA; he was PA Envirothon Leader for many years; Ornithological leader for 46 years at the West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage, Blackwater Falls, WV; the Founder and leader of the Jefferson Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Clarksville, PA, December, 1958 for 50+ years; and contributed research to the 1st and 2nd ATLAS OF BREEDING BIRDS IN PA. He lectured over 65 years on birds and nature to school children, civic groups, bird clubs, Boy Scouts, and many other organizations. He was interviewed on the radio in Pittsburgh, PA and elsewhere, as an expert on the subject of birds and nature. Ralph published over 200 articles on birds and nature. From 1956 to 1975 he published articles in EBBA News for the Eastern Bird Banding Association, including the years 1964 to 1973, when he wrote a column titled “A Bird Bander’s Diary”. He published articles in THE REDSTART and THE MAILBAG for the Brooks Bird Club for many years. He wrote a column titled “Bluebirds” for the Nature Society News, Griggsville, IL, and published articles in many other publications. In remembrance of Ralph K. Bell, please consider memorials to the Ralph K. Bell Bird Club, c/o Marjorie Howard-President, 149 Preachers Road, Waynesburg, PA 15370 or the Allegheny Front Migration Observatory, c/o Joan Bell Pattison-Project Leader, 10391 Glastonbury Circle #202, Fort Myers, FL 33913. Friends will be received from 1 to 3 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday; and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 24, 2014, the hour of services with the Rev. David Crowe officiating, in the Behm Funeral Homes, Inc., 1477 Jefferson Road, Jefferson, PA 15344, Gregory P. Rohanna, supervisor. Condolences may be expressed online at www.behm-funeralhomes.com.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, May 23, 2014
  • Visitation Friday, May 23, 2014
  • Visitation Saturday, May 24, 2014
  • Funeral Service Saturday, May 24, 2014
REMEMBERING

Ralph K. Bell

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