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Raymond Earl Bell, 89, of Grants Pass, OR, passed away September 7, 2021. Born in Fairfield, IA, to Frank and Geneva Bell. Raymond grew up working on the family farm with his sisters, Lois and Shirley, and his brothers, Keith, Glen, Frank, Rodger, Tommy, and Terry. After school, Ray joined the Navy. On May 6, 1953, he married his Iowa sweetheart, Mary Jo Overholser, in CA. Raymond and Mary Jo have been married for 68 years. His best friend, Tom Hoover, joined the Navy at the same time and married Mary Jo's sister, Marty. Ray was born on 4th of July and enjoyed everyone helping to celebrate his birthday. He was a true American Patriot.
Ray worked for Hanna Nickel Mine in Riddle, OR, for 30 years and at the end of his employment he was sent to Bogotá, Colombia, to help open another nickel mine. Ray also worked at a gold mine in NV, on a pipeline in Canada, and at a chemical disposal site on an island in the South Pacific. While employed at Hanna, he built a home for his family along the South Umpqua River. After retiring, Ray and Mary Jo traveled to all 50 states. They also built a home in Yuma, AZ, and enjoyed living half the time in AZ and half the time in OR.
Ray loved taking family and friends on Jeep rides, helping people, and teaching his children, grandchildren, and anyone who wanted to learn how to safely shoot a gun. He loved nature, hunting, and telling stories and jokes. He was a member of the VFW where he did many good deeds. The thing Ray was best at was taking care of the people he loved.
Ray is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Geneva; sisters, Lois and Shirley; brothers, Glen and Frank; niece, Courtney; nephews, Perry, Joseph, and Morgan; and great grandson, Jeremy. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jo; brothers, Keith, Rodger, Terry, and Tommy; daughters, Angela and Dorinda; son, Jeffrey (Jane); grandson, Joshua and Justin; granddaughters, Ashlie, Danita, Tara, Jessica, and Andrea; and great grandchildren, Chayse, Kaden, Conifer, Aysha, Lily, Kenna, Kellie, and Melissa.
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