Leonard David Bell, 1927 - 2016

Bell Obit Pic

Leonard David Bell, noted philanthropist, entrepreneur, and political activist, was born in Lewiston, Maine, on January 19, 1927 and passed away in Boca Raton, Florida, at the age of 89 on October 5, 2016. Leonard lived his first forty years in his native Maine where he graduated from Lewiston High School and attended Bowdoin College. He received his B. A. in 1947. An engaging and charismatic figure, he held many leadership roles on campus, including business manager of the school newspaper and chair of the Red Cross drive. Upon graduation, Leonard and his brother, Irving, founded Rose Woven Label Company (later renamed Bell Manufacturing Company). He served as president and principle salesman, traveling widely and connecting with a network of business friends and colleagues. He was always active in Maine community projects, Bowdoin alumni activities and charitable institutions. He held major leadership roles at Beth Jacob Synagogue and the Lewiston-Auburn Jewish federation. He regarded himself as a very fortunate man, especially in meeting and marrying Phyllis Amsel in 1949. His highest priority was his family, especially their three children, Nanci, Wendy, Jeffrey, son-in-law Steve Werdel and his grandchildren, Taylor, Samantha and Jeffrey James. Leonard’s extended family was vast, including his sister-in-law and brother-in-law and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased in life by his beloved brothers, Daniel and Irving Bell. Moving to Boston in 1970, he founded Private Investments of Boston and moved to Lexington, MA. For fourteen years he was partner and driving force of Private Investments. While in Boston he was extremely active in Combined Jewish philanthropy. He became increasingly active in Jewish philanthropies and fundraising for Israel and held many national offices. He was a zealous advocate for the United Jewish Appeal, a founding member of its Young Leadership Cabinet, and National Chairman from 1965-1968. He also served on the board of the Jewish Agency (Jerusalem) as well as Joint Distribution Committee executive committee, and the Organization for Rehabilitation executive committee. Leonard worked closely with Sy Kenan in the 1960s on behalf of Israel and was one of the founding members of the current American Israel Public Affairs Committee. His energy, abilities, and concern for public policies led him into national politics, working with and for Senators Hubert Humphrey, Edmund Muskie, Bob Packwood, Paula Hawkins, Rudy Boschwitz, and Bob Dole of Kansas, for whom he was a principle fundraiser. Since 1984 a resident of Highland Beach, Florida, Leonard pursued civic works on the town planning board, library committee, and Historical Society, of which he was President. He continued to be active in the Young President Organization and the World Business Council. Leonard Bell is remembered by his family, friends, and associates as a passionate, exuberant man, a dedicated and zealous advocate, and a compassionate, magnanimous person. No one who ever met Leonard Bell forgot him, and many were touched, moved, and inspired by him.

Funeral Notice

BELL, Leonard, 89, of Florida, died in Boca Raton on October 5, 2016. Services will be held Tuesday, 10 AM, at the Temple Shalom Synagogue, 24 Bradman Street, Auburn, Maine, followed by burial in Beth Jacob Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice. 

Temple Shalom Synagogue:

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© Gerald Burpee 2016