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Dr. J. Richard Bell

5/18/1922 - 7/8/2018

PEKIN ~ Dr. J. Richard “Dick” Bell, 96, of Pekin, passed away at 6:50 p.m. Sunday, July 8, 2018 at UnityPoint Health – Pekin Hospital.

Richard was born May 18, 1922 in Peoria to Ross G. and Frances (Seiler) Bell. His parents preceded him in death.   He married Norma Jean (Bauer) Oltmann on June 23, 1979 in Peoria.   

Surviving are his wife, Norma Jean Bell; his stepson, Kenneth Lee (Marianne) Oltmann; two granddaughters, Julia Oltmann and Melissa Oltmann, all of Pekin.  He is also survived by his extended family, Donald (Carolyn) Jackson, Thomas (Carla) Jacobson, Brennan Jacobson and Joseph Jacobson, all of Pekin.  Dick considered Brennan and Joseph as grandchildren.

A 1940 graduate of Pekin Community High School, Dick was a 1946 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He was a member of the Tau Tau chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Peoria Alumni Chapter of Sigma Chi.

Dr. Bell practiced general dentistry in Peoria from 1946 to 1986.  During his long career in dentistry, he and an oral surgeon colleague completed the first dental implant performed in Peoria.  He also met his future wife, Norma Jean, who was one of his patients.  Dr. Bell served on the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria Medical Staff and as a consultant for Aetna Life and Casualty Company, both for many years.  He had volunteered his dental services for The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis Motherhouse in East Peoria for many years.

He had served in the United States Navy during the Korean War from May 17, 1954 to May 16, 1956.  He was stationed in San Diego and later at Point Mugu, California.  He attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. 

He was a member of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Pekin.  He also was a member and former treasurer of Knights of Columbus Archbishop Schlarman Council #3507 and a fourth degree member of Assembly 210, both in Pekin.  He was a life member of the American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society, and Peoria District Dental Society, serving as treasurer from 1963 to 1965 and president from 1965 to 1966.  He was a member of the Delta Sigma Delta International Dental Society. 

Dick developed a love for boating and fishing.  He spent many summers attending a boy’s camp in Northern Wisconsin, and eventually served as a counselor there.  He continued boating and fishing well into his later years.  He also enjoyed ballroom dancing.  Dick and Norma Jean belonged to the Mr. and Mrs. Dance Club in Pekin, the Mr. and Mrs. Dance Club in Emden, and the Creve Coeur Dance Club in Peoria.

His funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 16, 2018 at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Pekin, with Father James Pankiewicz as the celebrant.  Visitation will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday at Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin, with a 10 a.m. Knights of Columbus Chalice service.  Private entombment will be at Resurrection Mausoleum in Peoria, where military rites will be accorded by the United States Navy. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 303 South 7th Street, Pekin, IL  61554.

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