State Representative Paul Bell, a Newton native and former Newton police officer, has lost his battle with cancer. He died late Monday at the Monarch Wing of Skiff Medical Center. He was 59.
Bell discovered he had stomach cancer about a year ago, and had most of it removed. However, he learned recently that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes.
Bell was a state legislator for 17 years, and was on the ballot for re-election in November. He currently was serving as the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.
State Senator Dennis Black remembers Paul Bell as a good friend and a person dedicated to environmental issues.
“Paul was an exceptional individual,” Black said. “He had more faith than most people knew. I knew him so well from our travels.”
Black and Bell made numerous trips overseas, including to Asian and European countries, to sell Iowa agricultural products. In addition, Black said Bell worked hard to preserve the environment.
As a former law enforcement officer, Bell was also passionate about public safety issues in the legislature.
Bell was a long-time Newton police officer, joining the force in October 1974. Newton Police Department Lt. Gary Dodds remembers Bell as a very dedicated law enforcement officer.
“I worked with Paul for about 30 years,” Dodds said. “Our department has lost a good police officer and a good friend.”
Bell retired from the Newton Police Department on Dec. 31, 2005.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker Pat Murphy, in a statement issued late Monday, said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Rep. Paul Bell. As a police officer and legislator from Newton, he spent his life keeping his community safe and making Iowa a better place to live.”
Services for Bell are pending at Wallace Family Funeral Home in Newton.