John Bell Profile Photo
1934 John 2021

John Bell

June 6, 1934 — January 18, 2021

John David Bell of San Antonio and Kerrville, TX went to be with the love of his life, Jeanette (Jeanie) Elizabeth on Jan 18, 2021 in Austin, TX.\r\n\r\nJ.D. was born in Ft. Worth in 1934 to parents John James and Mary Mathis Bell. Raised in San Antonio, he graduated from Jefferson High School, then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Texas A&M College in 1956. He then was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force at March AFB, CA.\r\n\r\nDouglas Aircraft Company employed J.D. as an engineer in the Electrical Equipment Group designing components for the E/RB-66 Destroyer, C-124 Globemaster II and C-133 Cargomaster aircraft. Called to USAF active duty in 1957, J.D. earned his navigator wings at Harlingen AFB, then flew as a Bomb/Nav in the B-47E Stratojet and B-58A Hustler at March AFB and Bunker Hill AFB until 1964, logging over 2,000 hours in the air. J.D. married Ann Merrill Whitney in 1958 and they had two children, Dan and Diane.\r\n\r\nAssigned to the Aeronautical Systems Division of the Air Force Systems Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, he held managerial positions developing the CH-47 Chinook, HC-130H Hercules, FX (later F-15) aircraft. After discharge from the Air Force in 1967, J.D. worked as a Flight Test Engineer/Analyst for Swearingen Aircraft, Grayson Engineering, and Key Industries. He worked on military and civil aircraft (SA26-AT, SA226-TC, B-1 Bomber, F-14 Tomcat, MU-300 Diamond, GAF Nomad N22) of American, British, Australian, Brazilian, and Swiss origin. J.D. was rated pilot for commercial, instrument, and multi-engine aircraft.\r\n\r\nJ.D. met his wife Jeanie in 1968. They married in 1972 at St. Pius X Catholic Church in San Antonio. Together, they raised her three children, Lisa, Joey, and Loretta.\r\n\r\nJ.D. retired in 1996. Jeanie and J.D. sold their home and full-time RVed for 5 years, settling in Kerrville in 2003, where they attended Notre Dame Catholic Church. After Jeanie's death in 2008, J.D. traveled to USAF reunions in the U.S., did a stint as a Precinct Chair for Kerr County, was an active bowler, and traveled often to visit family and friends across the country.\r\n\r\nJ.D. is preceded in death by his wife, Jeanie Bell, his sisters Pam Hatzenbuehler and Eileen Dzanski. He is survived by his children James Daniel Bell of Pottstown, PA, Karen Diane Bell of Austin, TX, and David Thirkield of Dayton, OH; grandchildren James David Bell, Stephanie and Amanda Thirkield; step-children Lisa Icke of San Antonio, Joey Michael Klein of Humble, Loretta Lynn Hoadley of San Antonio; step-grandchildren Phillip and Joshua Icke, Kelsey and Garrett Klein, Trey and Brittany Hoadley; and numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, as well as 9 great-grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.\r\n\r\nThe family will hold a private graveside ceremony in Kerrville.

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