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Devoted University Friend and Benefactor Goes Home

by Carol Best

Former MNU Board of Trustee Member Donald H. Bell, Sr., age 90, passed away at home surrounded by his family on December 8, 2022.

Bell flourished in many professions, including teaching, church choir directing, home building, and banking. He believed his greatest profession was during his philanthropic years. Among various ministries, nonprofit organizations and universities, Bell was known for his generosity, always seeking to impact generations of young people. MNU was grateful to be among those recipients.

As a young man, Bell was an athlete and a musician, having played basketball at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, serving as drum major in the 76th United States Army Band, and directing The Omega Singers. These two passions led him to give legacy gifts to the MNU campus for the Bell Family Arena in Cook Center and the Bell Cultural Events Center, Olathe’s premier venue for the performing arts.

“Don’s generosity provided key support for these two facilities at MNU,” said Dr. David Spittal, MNU president. “They have greatly enhanced campus life and provide exceptional opportunities for students and the community. Hundreds of MNU alumni have benefitted from The Don and Faith Bell Family Scholarship, which continues to provide essential scholarship support.”

Bell stayed active in his church and community. In addition to his service to MNU, he served as a board member of College Church of the Nazarene, the Board of Trustees at Olivet Nazarene University, and the Olathe Chamber of Commerce (Board Chair). Bell was awarded Kansas City’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1993 and was named Olathe Citizen of the Year in 2006. Olivet Nazarene University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004.

Bell is survived by his wife of 70 years, Faith, his children Donald H., Jr. (Pamela), Deanna R., and H. Frank (Julianne); nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Judith F. Hooven, his son, James H. Bell, brother Jack H. Bell, and sisters, Gertrude Watson and Barbara Chupp.

Visitation will be on December 17 at 9:30 a.m. at College Church of the Nazarene, 2020 E. Sheridan, Olathe, Kansas, with the service following at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to The Bell Scholarship Fund at MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2030 E College Way, Olathe, KS 66062. Arrangements are at Penwell- Gabel.

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