Dr. Douglas Norman Bell

December 13th, 2023

 Dr. Douglas Norman Bell, born February 8, 1928, at Grace Hospital, & peacefully passed of aspiration pneumonia December 13, 2023, in Lions Gate Hospital, surrounded in love by family. Predeceased by his parents Norman & Olive Bell (nee Simpson), brothers Fred Bell (Claire) & Monte Bell. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Marian Louise Bell, sons Greg (Lu Batagglia), Matthew (Satu Bell), daughter Krista Kennedy (Brian), grandsons, Julian (partner Leigh Dickson) & James Bell (Rozie Massey), Brandon (Hayley Flinn), Andrew (partner Kassandra Harder), Christopher (fiancée Ailsa Berry) & Michael Kennedy (partner Claudia Parsons), Cousin Nick Scharfe (Dianne), SIL, Suki Wallingford, nephews & cousins. He is a descendant of a historical Canadian family, the Cummers, of Willowdale, Ontario.

Doug grew up in Kerrisdale attending Kerrisdale School & McGee High School. Douglas, “Miff”, was gifted with many talents & a long life that allowed him a full variety of life experiences & passions. He was a commercial fisherman before he was licensed to drive a car; got a car, “The Bug” before he was licensed to drive; ticketed carpenter before he was a legal adult; lifeguard at Jericho Beach & an accomplished musician! No doubt benefitted having his mother as a music teacher as he could play piano, bass guitar, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, harmonica, & his own beautiful handmade/carved bass fiddle. Graduated from UBC in the Faculty of Science with a Bachelor of Arts in 1950 & enjoyed being in Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.

He met the love of his life, Marian Louise Gell, in a UBC carpool while working on a master’s in chemistry in case he did not get into medical school. In 1951, Douglas was accepted to McGill Medical School. Marian & Douglas married in Vancouver, 1954; moved to Montreal where he graduated from McGill Medical School in 1955. Medical Council of Canada graduate, 1956; senior Intern Veteran Affairs for medical service; member of the College of Physicians & Surgeons, 1957; CDN College of General Medicine, 1963. He opened a private practice in Kerrisdale & later built an office at 41st/Fraser complete with a beautiful atrium for patients to look at nature while in waiting room. He worked at Grace, St. Vincent’s, VGH, & St. Paul’s Hospitals. 1969, Douglas was licensed in WA state for Medicine & Surgery. At 42 years old, he moved the family to California to continue to develop his gifted skills where he studied to become an Otolaryngologist at Kaiser Foundation Hospital. When he went to Kaiser in 1971, its ENT program was one of the best in the world.

He was one of the first doctors in Canada (if not the first) to receive this "modern" ENT training. He was an excellent surgeon, often asked by his colleagues to assist with surgery or was consulted for his expertise. He was very respected in the medical community in B.C. & in California. While a Resident Physician, he became Chief Resident Physician. In 1974, attained his Royal Canadian College of Surgeons Specialty in Otolaryngology & his American Board of Otolaryngology. 1975, a Fellow American Academy of Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology. He set up a practice in Vancouver at 41st/Oak & worked at St. Paul’s. Later, he moved the family again to California, & practiced ENT in La Jolla & Scripps Clinic. He also taught the med students at UCSD.

The clinical teaching at UCSD was significant because it is one of the most important classes in medical school. It instructs young students hoping to become doctors the necessary practical skills to contribute to the profession. When he was only fifty-eight, he had emergency kidney stone surgery, with a promise to him he would be back at work the next day, with a new lithotripsy procedure. His medical career came to a grinding halt when the surgeon gave him too much lithotripsy, leaving him unable to work, let alone unable to do, or teach, microscopic surgery. The procedure left him with a lifelong disability of stage 3 kidney disease, polymyalgia rheumatica & other auto-immune disorders. His tenacious character stepped in to fight for some new normality in his life.

In his retirement, he took up golf, poured over medical research, volunteered as director for a biotech co. in hopes of making people & animals live a healthier quality of life. His “happy places” were seeing patients, the OR, teaching, playing music, creating/fixing things or on the tennis court! His family & friends always most important & he treasured the memories of each person. A great role model to his patients, family & friends for taking care of oneself in mind, body & nutrition.

He taught his kids what he called, “The 3 life sports,” swim, ski, & to play tennis. He diligently coached & developed Greg’s tennis game so he could become a competitive tennis player. Greg was a Canadian nationally ranked junior player, attained second in Canada in his age group, NCAA Division 1 tennis, SDSU. Dad taught us all to fish, waterski, hands-on car maintenance, & later golf. He passed on his acuteness in carpentry, automotive, artistic & creative talents to Matt, who is an exceptional jeweler, second to none in this writer’s opinion, and now the film industry is fortunate to have him creating & building set designs for many well-known film companies.

Doug’s passion to help people to a healthier quality of life influenced Krista in many aspects of her life. He was a tremendous inspiration to Krista, & together they formed a registered Canadian charity to help fund medical science research. It was important to him that projects would be unique & have potential for globally altering health & wellness benefits to all living things. He was an inaugural director & helped shape the path of the charity. He was a talented painter, story & joke teller, & kept his wife laughing, entertained & deeply loved for 73 years! Loved by all that knew him & we all feel so blessed we got him with us this long. He too, knew he was lucky to be part of making all these awesome & epic memories. His inner strength that he had rallied at fifty-eight, continued in his favour of beating whatever ailment came his way for the next thirty-seven years, right up to his last peaceful breath! He was remarkable, but would remark more recently on these many, many health triumphs, “but I am getting old.” Not only did he become quite deaf, but the last 3 years of his life his eyesight almost completely left him.

Even through those challenges, he made some unique physiological discoveries as to why his sight suddenly tanked & how he could help his vision improve where scientifically it should not have been able to do so. He continued to story tell, lecture medical topics to friends & family, laugh at his own jokes & dance with his daughter right up until it was time to go. In his last selfless act, Douglas donated his body to medical research at UBC. A Celebration of Life honouring Douglas, January 20, 2024, noon, at Gleneagles Golf Clubhouse. Many thanks to his compassionate home caregivers & Creekstone Care Centre staff who treated him with dignity & respect. Donations appreciated in Douglas’ memory to Kennedy NeuroMed Research Foundation (www.TheKennedyFoundation.org).


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