Cover photo for David Bell's Obituary
David Bell Profile Photo
1947 David 2022

David Bell

July 11, 1947 — May 14, 2022

David Bell, 74, passed away May 14, 2022. He was born in Seattle, Washington, on July 11, 1947, to Warren and Mary Bell. A week after graduating from Parkrose High School in Portland, he enlisted in the U.S Air Force and retired after 22 years as a Master Sergeant. Affectionately named “Ma Bell” by his squadron, he served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 as an autopilot mechanic and weapons control systems technician. He was stationed at the Phan Rang Air Force Base during the TET offensive. After retiring from the Air Force, he embarked on a second career, founding a company that provided engineering services for the Air Force and Navy. The company developed safety systems for tracking missiles. The missile destruct system was launched on SpaceShipOne. David returned to Portland in 2002, and began his third career as a manufacturing technician at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro.

In 2004, David met his wife, Karla Dudley and relocated to Longview. They were married in 2014 in a Scottish-themed wedding featuring the Bell Clan Tartan. The two spent as much time as possible hiking, camping, and backpacking in the Northwest and National Parks. David was a mountain man at heart and most content in an alpine meadow. He climbed Mount Hood three times, Mount St. Helens, and all of the Three Sisters Mountains near Bend, Oregon, and was a member of the Mazamas, a non-profit organization that promotes mountaineering.

David was known for his quick wit, generosity, ability to fix just about anything, and for his support of Karla in her endeavors. After developing a passion for nature photography, he purchased a commercial printer, and could be seen at many farmers markets selling his custom canvas photos. He was always curious and wrote a column on recycling and energy efficiency for the Columbia River Reader, which he named “Reluctantly Green,” as a good-natured nod to skeptics and late-adopters.

He is survived by his wife, Karla; three daughters, Jennifer, Nancy, and Kim; stepdaughter Amber; stepson Carl; siblings Jim, Linda and Susan; his beloved dog, Sampson; and many grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

A gathering will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday afternoon, June 26, in Longview. For location details, call 360-577-1366 or send an email to Friends are invited to share stories of David, view his photos, and enjoy a fire.

A private celebration of his life will be held at Mount Hood. His wishes were for all to remember him by enjoying a fire, sipping a little rye whiskey, and telling stories of outdoor adventures.

Memorial contributions may be sent in his name to Mazamas, 527 S.E. 43rd Ave., Portland, OR 97215; or to Battle Buddies Northwest, 1611 S.W. 20th Ave, Battle Ground, WA 98604, which provides service dogs to deployed veterans. To leave a comment or memory, visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David Bell, please visit our flower store.


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