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Richard N. BellCemetery Owner
Richard Norr Bell, 88, who for decades owned and operated National Harmony Memorial Park, a cemetery in Landover, died Jan. 18 at Manor Care Fair Oaks nursing home in Fairfax. He had Alzheimer's disease.
As a young man, Mr. Bell was involved in real estate and dry cleaning businesses with his father, Louis.
In the late 1950s, they were contracted by the D.C. government to move the historically black Columbian Harmony Cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair.
According to a 2000 Washington Post article, 37,000 remains were disinterred and moved to what the Bells named National Harmony Memorial Park. Mr. Bell served as president until his family sold the cemetery in the late 1990s.
He was born in Baltimore and completed high school in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended the City College of New York and Benjamin Franklin University in Washington. He served in the Army Air Forces in North Africa and Europe during World War II.
Mr. Bell, a Middleburg resident, traveled widely with his wife. They once stayed in a yurt in Mongolia and took the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia, among other adventures.
A son, Jeremy Bell, died in 1998.
Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Myfida Williams Bell of Middleburg; two children, David J. Bell of Alexandria and Jennifer Spalding of The Plains; a sister; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
-- Adam Bernstein