February 3, 1935 – October 3, 2017

Bell, Russell Arthur – Passed away peacefully, with his family by his side, at the Hamilton General Hospital on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.  Dearly loved and missed by his wife Sallie of 55 years; his children Stuart (Stacey Farkas), Shirley (Gary Edwards) and Bronwyn Bell; grandchildren Alexis, Blake, Saige, Koen, Jaycob and Emma and by his brother Graeme (Elaine). Predeceased by his granddaughters Sydney and Angel. Russell was adored and will be sincerely missed by so many extended family, friends and loved ones here in Canada and in England, New Zealand and Australia. Russell was born in Christ Church, New Zealand to Arthur and Inga Bell on February 3rd, 1935. He obtained his first university degree, a Bachelor of Science from Victoria University, Wellington, NZ. He completed his Masters in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and his PhD at Stanford University during which time he met, fell in love with and married Sallie. After a few moves, Russell and Sallie settled in Dundas, Ontario when Russell obtained a job with McMaster University where he worked for over 30 years. Russell became a highly respected Chemistry Professor who had a significant impact on many students and colleagues. He continued to participate in university matters throughout his retirement years.  Russell loved to travel and he and Sallie had many adventures together including sabbaticals in France, England and Australia. In addition to travelling, Russell enjoyed gardening, working on endless ‘projects’, enjoying the theatre with friends and most of all, spending cherished time with family. Russell was a kind and gentle soul whose great love, strength and wisdom remains in the legacy of his children and grandchildren.  Friends will be received by the family on Saturday afternoon from 2 – 6 at the Turner Family Funeral Home, 53 Main Street, Dundas.  A Celebration of Russell’s life will follow at 88 Hopkins Court, Dundas at 6:30 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Salvation Army, Russel’s favourite charity, would be appreciated by the family.

25 Messages to Bell, Russell Arthur

  • Joe Tufariello

    I just happened to think of Russell Bell and looked him up on the Web. I was shocked to find that he had passed away on my birthday in 2018. Russell, Donald Towns, Walter Kimoto and I shared an apartment at the University of Wisconsin for about a year and a half in the late ’50s. He was a fantastic individual and an excellent chemist. I knew he eventually came to Canada. Indeed, he came to visit us in the ’60s I believe.
    Russell always talked with pride of his New Zealand upbringing. We spent some wonderful times together in Madison, including the time I met my wife. I will miss him deeply.

  • Mike McGlinchey


    I realise it’s months ago, but we just learned the sad news. My last meeting with Russell was a couple of years ago when I was at Mac to present a seminar. We had a beer together afterwards and chatted about a recent visit that we had made to New Zealand. I could never understand how he managed to look 20 years younger than his actual age. I learned so much from Russell about NMR, and also how to teach large classes. He was the epitome of a gentleman and a scholar! Barbara, of course, knew him very well when she was the office manager of the IDRP and Russell was often there to see Chari.

    Best regards from Dublin …….. Mike and Barbara

  • Debbie Hempstalk

    I have only just heard of Russell’s passing in an email from Carol & John. My heart goes out to you Sallie, and to the rest of the family. Russell was one of a kind…a gentle soul with a kind heart and a smile that brightened everyone’s day. He always laughed when I described him as “colourful”, but his stories so entertained! I could sit and listen to him for hours. The world has lost a wonderful man….

    Thinking of you always,


  • Neil Freckleton

    My sincere condolences to all of the family. I have worked with his daughter Shirley for many years and until this post I didn’t realize the connection. He was also my chemistry professor at McMaster University. Not surprisingly, the I can now see the resemblance; kind, caring, intuitive and engaging.
    Very best
    Neil Freckleton

  • James and Franca DiCenzo

    Deepest condolences to Sallie and the Bell family. We were fortunate to have the Bell family over at the house two years ago at the Hopkins Court Block Party for some great memories. Growing up in the Court, I always knew him for his bright and lively soul; he will be missed.

    Sincere regards,


  • Mike and Caroline Kennedy

    Shirley and family , very sorry for your loss .

  • Richard Epand

    I am sad to learn of the passing of Russell Bell. I will have good memories of interactions with him as a scientific colleague and friend. My condolences to Sally and his family.

  • Brian & Dawn Burns

    Condolences to the Bell family, very sorry to hear of your loss,
    Brian & Dawn Burns

  • Susan Piesse

    Dear everyone in Uncle Russell’s life and big big hugs to Sallie and all my cousins Stuart. Shirley & Bronwyn
    Thank you for your messages
    Yes I remember Russell with his permanent smile – always smiling 👍
    He and Aunty Sallie always came to visit us in Chippenham, Wiltshire when they were in England and it was always great to see Russell and Sallie every time
    Russell would always drive Sallie around on these tiny roads over here with a sat nav to help !! – for this I take my hat off to him
    I will never forget our visit to Worcester Cathederal. Russell couldn’t have been happier with all the information etc that came from the visit even though to me it was JUST an old building 🙄
    For me, I was enthralled and excited by his knowledge and interest in & of everything
    So much love to you all Sallie Bronwyn Shirley Stuart and just everyone xxxx
    Dear Uncle Russell – you can rest now 🌹Xxxx
    Love Sue Alan Piesse xx

  • Brenda and Joe Vetrone

    I had the honour of having Dr. Bell as my professor for a fourth year organic chemistry course and later as a treasured member in my thesis committee at McMaster over 25 years ago. I know many students shared my opinions – he was a bright, enthusiastic and generous man and a very respected scholar. His kind and supportive smile and words could make any day brighter and we all knew we were lucky to know him. His spirit will always burn bright in our hearts. Our sincerest sympathies to his family and many friends.

  • Willie and Jo-Anne Leigh

    Jo-Anne and I are so saddened to hear of Russell’s passing. He was a wonderful person and a valued mentor to me. Our thoughts are with you, Sallie.

  • Anne (Yarwood) Treadwell

    My first thought when I heard this news from a friend was, “What a lovely man Russell was!” Heartfelt sympathy, Sallie — I have such good memories of your family, though from long ago when our children were young. As someone else said (above), “I haven’t seen Dr. Bell in over 30 years, yet I remember him as if it were yesterday.” I know that his fellow Chemistry professor, the late John Yarwood, also thought very highly of Russell — a gentle-man in every sense.
    Warmly, Anne

  • Joe & Laureen Cushing, Hopkins Court

    So very sorry to hear this news. Sending love and prayers to you all during this most difficult time.

  • Michelle Palmer, Harvard Mass USA

    Dr Bell made a very big impact in my career. I had the privilege of being a student and lab member under Dr Bell. His wisdom, integrity and kindness was a guiding light in my professional career. I was very sad to learn of his passing

  • Edwina and David Hempstalk

    So sorry to hear of Russell’s passing. On the occasions that we met we found him to be a very interesting and kindly man with a great sense of humour. Our condolences to Sallie and family at this difficult time.
    Kind regards Edwina and David

  • Bob Berno

    Very sorry to hear of Russell’s passing.
    Russell was retired before I arrived at McMaster, but his contributions to the Department and the fields of Chemistry and NMR research were enormous. I always enjoyed our brief encounters at Departmental Seminars or our chance hallway discussions. I feel very fortunate to have known him.
    He was a very kind soul and will be sorely missed.

  • Andrew Steels

    So sorry to hear of your loss to you all, a true gentleman and a scholar whom we loved his company along with Sallie on the couple of occasions in Melbourne. He will be sadly missed.

    Kind Regards

    Andrew, Amanda, Kiara & Sam
    Melbourne Australia

  • Laura Flatt

    So sorry to hear of Russell’s passing. You were both so good to me when I was a grad student and Mac, and it was nice to see you now and again around town. May he rest in peace. Laura (Heller) Flatt

  • Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, McMaster University

    Dear Mrs. Bell,

    We were so sorry to hear of Russell’s death and we want to express our most sincere sympathies to you and the family during this difficult time. Your husband was a highly valuable and respected member of our department. Russell was a remarkable man and everyone in the department is better for having known him. He will be greatly missed and everyone here is saddened by his death. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and his family and friends during this difficult time.

    As per your wishes, we have made a donation on behalf of the department to the Salvation Army.

    With sincere sympathy,

    The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, McMaster University

  • Patricia Elliott

    I haven’t seen Dr. Bell in over 30 years, yet I remember him as if it were yesterday. After two years at McMaster, I had decided to attend college. But there was a summer job posting, and I needed the money! During my interview with Dr. Bell, I let him know my plans. “But I can still do the lab job at least as well as your ideal candidate. …and if I don’t, you can always fire me.” I really thought he’d toss me out on my ear, but instead he smiled and replied, “You sound just like my daughter! You’ve got the job.” I worked for that wonderful man all summer and then for the school year, since he offered me a part-time job that I could work around my college schedule. His willingness to let me try, his diligence in ensuring that the lab was a safe and interesting workplace, and his support in listening to my ideas even though I had little academic “street cred” were invaluable to me. He gave me confidence when I needed it, and experience that ultimately led to a rewarding career in the steel industry. In retirement, I now look back and see that Dr. Bell was the best mentor and one of the biggest positive influences in my life. I will remember him with a smile, and deep gratitude.

  • Trish Sweetman

    Your very sad news has reached us while travelling in North East America which somehow makes us feel even closer to Russell. His name has come up several times in the last few days reminiscing on things he had said and done, including dough nut stops. We all have very fond memories of time spent in New Zealand with Russell and also at your home in Dundas. He was a fountain of information and we all loved his gentle humour and passionate interest in our lives and families in New Zealand. He will be sadly missed by all the Sweetman family and we will be partaking in a dram in his memory tonight. Much love to you all from David, Diane, Bill, Diana, Maurice and Trish (staying in Ludlow Vermont at present)

  • Nancy Kolenski

    I also had the distinct pleasure of working in Chemistry when I first started at McMaster and he was always pleasant and the students loved him. I am so very sorry for your loss, he touched the lives of so many.

  • Joanne Drake Stewart

    A small remembrance of Dr. Bell that I would like to share with his family. Many years ago I was a secretary in the Physical Sciences Building at McMaster University, when Dr. Bell first came to work there. He was always smiling and friendly, and my particular remembrance is of every December 16th, when he would stop into the office to wish us a “Happy Beethoven’s Birthday”. My sympathies to his family.

  • Nicola Simmons

    Sending our love and sympathy to everyone – so saddened and shocked at this great loss. Remembering happy times, Nicola & Ben

  • Jason and Kim Doherty

    It was only a few weeks ago at Sally’s birthday we were hoisting a few pints in Stu’s backyard, you were telling kim and I sorties of meeting Sally at the skting rink in California, exciting stories of your trips up the cost in your little convertble sports car and your journey to Canada !!!! I always got a kick out of you when you would start talking chemistry with me and you actually thought I knew what you were talking about . Always the hit of the party, a true gentleman, father, grandfather and husband. You were always looked up to and admired by many as well as myself, you were always someone try and emulate in many of your ways. I tried but would never come close. Missing your cheerful demeanor Whitt and smile
    You are missed by all whom you touched Rest in peace Russel Love Jay and kim

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