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Published: Friday, 7/20/2012

Paul Luther Bell, 1914-2012: WWII veteran had pulmonary practice in area


Paul Luther Bell, a longtime physician and local pioneer in the field of pulmonary medicine, died Wednesday at Aspen Grove Assisted Living Residence in Lambertville.

He was 97 and had been in the nursing home for five years. He died after a steady decline, his son, Stephen, said.

Stephen Bell and his sister, Priscilla Bell, lauded their ftther for his dedication to medicine and his work ethic.

Dr. Bell founded pulmonary function laboratories at Toledo Hospital, Flower Hospital, and St. Luke's Hospital.

He established the cardiac perfusion team for open heart surgery at Toledo Hospital in the 1950s, and directed the program more than 25 years.

His children remembered him for a warm personality and his sense of humor.

"He was known for an encyclopedic knowledge of limericks, some of which we weren't allowed to hear," his son said.

Dr. Bell could recite by memory long passages from the poetry of Robert Service.

Despite a demanding job, both children described him as an attentive parent.

"There were a lot of times when he wouldn't come for dinner because he was working, but would always come into our rooms at night when we were going to sleep and sing us a song," his daughter said.

Dr. Bell was born Nov. 13, 1914, in Toledo to Dr. Alvin E. Bell and Nola E. Bair.

He was a Scott High School graduate. In 1936, he graduated from Wittenberg College in Springfield, Ohio, and entered the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, obtaining a medical degree in 1941.

He joined the Army Air Corps in October, 1942, as a first lieutenant, where he was attached to the 380th Squadron of the 451st bomb group, serving in Egypt, North Africa, and Italy.

After his discharge from the military in February, 1946, he met Patricia A. Fought during an internal medicine residency at Miami Valley Hospital in Toledo. They were married Aug. 30, 1946, in Toledo.

He entered private practice in Toledo in 1950, specializing in diseases of the chest, and he worked at a number local hospitals before closing his practice in 1984.

In 1991, Dr. Bell was among eight local physicians honored by the Ohio State Medical Association for more than 50 years of service.

Surviving are his wife, Patricia; sons, Stephen and Kevin; daughters, Priscilla Bell, Laurie Bell, and Amy Hering; four grandchildren; three step-grandchildren, and four step-great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. today at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1825 Glendale Ave. Bersticker-Scott Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to ProMedica Erie West Hospice or the charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Casey Sumner at: csumner@theblade.com or 419-724-6084.

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