OBITUARY: HDDA Remembers Industry Leader Dick Bell Who Died This Week - aftermarketNews

OBITUARY: HDDA Remembers Industry Leader Dick Bell Who Died This Week

Well-known industry leader and founding member of the Heavy Duty Distribution Association (HDDA), Dick Bell, died Tuesday, Jan. 13.

From AAIA SmartBrief
Well-known industry leader and founding member of the Heavy Duty Distribution Association (HDDA), Dick Bell, died Tuesday, Jan. 13. Bell was president of Bell Frame and Brake Service Inc., the company where he started working with his father in 1962. A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Dothan, Dothan, Ala., at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 16. Family will receive friends and relatives in the church fellowship hall from 9:15 a.m. until time for the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Diabetes Research and Training Center (DRTC) at UAB, 1675 University Blvd, Room #Web 232, Attn: Sabrina Carpenter, Birmingham, AL 35294, or the Dothan Rescue Mission, 216 E. Crawford Street, Dothan, AL 36301, a long-term project supported by the First Presbyterian Men’s Bible Class.

Aftermarket colleagues remembered Bell with tributes. HDDA board of governors chairman John Flad, Bendix CVS, said “Dick truly was the father of HDDA. He had a history of leadership and enormous contributions that transcended normal membership. I don’t think there has ever been another volunteer who gave so much of himself and of his time to the organization.”   

Bell served on the Automotive Service Industry Association (ASIA) Heavy Duty Division (HDD) from 1983-90, and chaired the education committee during those years. He also was a director of ASIA from 1983-85 to 1993-96, and after ASIA consolidated with the Automotive Parts and Accessories Association (APAA) in 1999 to form AAIA, he continued his work on the Education Committee until 2008. He was on the HDD (later HDDA) board of governors, from 1996 until 2008, and served as association vice chairman, 1996-99 and as chairman, 2000-2002.  

HDDA immediate past board chairman Dave Scheer, Inland Truck Parts, said, “Dick was a true gentleman with a quick wit. He was truly dedicated to HDDA and AAIA. He will be missed.”

Long-time board colleague Dave Bell, Erie DriveTrain Inc., said, “I first met Dick Bell over 25 years ago while we served together in the heavy duty segment of ASIA. From the first time I was introduced, to the last time I spoke with Dick in late December, he epitomized the phrase "Southern Gentleman." His passions included his family and friends and the heavy duty industry – especially the field of education. He will be missed by all and I have lost a close personal friend.”

Fellow board member Russ White, Eaton Corp/Aftermarket Products, also thought of Bell as the “true southern gentleman. He had a style and class about him that once you knew him set him apart from others. I agree he will be solely missed. Our prayers are with Martha and her family during this difficult time.”

Noting Bell’s love of golf, Dave Engstrom, Mutual Wheel Co., said, “Dick was also always willing to get in a round of golf as we traveled to all the ASIA/HD and HDDA meetings. We lost a Governor.”

In addition to HDDA, Bell was very active with the Automotive Aftermarket Association of the Southeast (AAAS) formerly (Automotive Wholesalers’ Association of Alabama/Georgia [AWAA]) serving many years on its board of directors and executive committee and as treasurer. The group’s executive, Randal Ward, said,“Dick meant so much to all of us. He was a true friend and one that will be sorely missed.”

Bell also held leadership positions in the Truck Frame and Axle Association (TARA), National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). In 1989, he was the recipient of the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Education Award, and in 1995 was honored with the Heavy Duty Distributor Association Professional of the Year Award.

Bell leaves a remarkable legacy of numerous activities and service, with his church, community, civic and educational organizations and causes.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Martha Groenendyke Bell; daughter Charlotte Milner of San Antonio, Texas; daughter Allyson (Joe) McLean of Birmingham, Ala.; and five grandchildren.

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