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Funeral held for Bell

Posted: July 15, 2012 1:00 a.m.
Updated: July 15, 2012 1:00 a.m.

The American flag is removed and folded from the casket of Harry Bell at the funeral in Newhall on Saturday. Click here for more photos.


Friends and family members filled the pews, lined the walls, stood in the foyer, and listened in from the lobby at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary on Saturday as friends and clergy celebrated the life of Harry Bell.

The 89-year-old Newhall resident died July 5 when his ultralight aircraft went down off Highway 126 between Castaic Junction and Fillmore. Bell and his passenger Michael Boolen, 59, of Pacoima, died in the crash.

“Harry told me that he wasn’t afraid of dying,” said Phil Aijian of First Presbyterian Church in Newhall. The former Santa Clarita Valley Man of the Year’s strong faith led to his fearlessness, the care pastor said to about 300 of Bell’s friends and family.

Many people at the funeral couldn’t get a spot in the chapel and had to listen to the service through speakers in the foyer and lobby.

Ed Bolden, Bell’s longtime friend and business partner, told stories about traveling, flying and playing golf with Bell.

“I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to think about what we disagreed on,” Bolden said. “I didn’t write anything down because I couldn’t think of anything.”

Jim Droz, who worked as a real estate agent for Bell, said his boss changed his life by teaching him about the real estate business.

“Harry went out doing what he loved,” Droz said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

The ultralight crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. For unknown reasons, the parachute on Bell’s aircraft did not deploy.

The longtime Santa Clarita Valley resident served on the formation committee for Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and ran two businesses in town, one a real estate firm and the other an engineering company.

He was also was an active member of the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club and Elks Lodge.

An American flag was draped over Bell’s casket, as he was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. A wooden Freemason symbol stood to the side during the memorial service.


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