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Former Cape teacher, Bell, passes away

By Staff | Feb 27, 2009

Orville Dwight Bell, 85, of Cape Coral died Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009, of natural causes at Hope Hospice. He was born in Moulton Company, Ala., on May 12, 1923.
Dwight, as he was known to all of his friends, moved to Cape Coral with his wife, Olga, in 1972. He was a former teacher at Caloosa and Gulf middle schools in Cape Coral, where he taught language arts until his retirement in 1989.
On June 12, 2006, at the age of 83, Mr. Bell received a long overdue Air Medal for his service as a Patrol Bomber Mariner for the United States Navy in World War II. According to a Daily Breeze article published June 10, 2006, recognizing his achievement, Bell flew combat missions over the Pacific war zone and was involved in rescuing downed Allied or enemy airmen. He also took part in island invasions and in searches for and destruction of enemy targets.
It took over 60 years, including five spent by his son, Capt. Ronald D. Bell, USAF (ret.), in research to compile the needed documentation, for Bell’s heroism to be officially recognized.
The medal presentation was made by Capt. David Murray, USN, as awarded by President Bush and the secretary of the Navy. Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall hosted the ceremony in commission chambers in downtown Fort Myers, and the board proclaimed June 12, 2006, as Orville Dwight Bell Day.
Bell is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Olga; three children; five step-children; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Hospice House in Cape Coral.