Current Issue

Apr.7, 2010

Vol. 110, No. 11


Howard Sill Bell Jr. ’43 *47

Published in the Apr.7, 2010, issue

Sam, who made significant contributions to early rocketry and energy-systems design, died Nov. 11, 2009, at his home in Basking Ridge, N.J. He was 89.

Sam graduated from Exeter Academy and received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Princeton, both in mechanical engineering. He was in Cloister Inn. During World War II he was a first lieutenant in charge of C-47 flight-line maintenance at Sedalia (Mo.) Air Force Base. Rocketry work at Reaction Motors (later a division of Thiokol Chemical) in Rockaway, N.J., filled the next 20 years.

Sam contributed to rocket-engine design for Surveyor, the first unmanned soft landing on the moon, and the X-15 supersonic research aircraft. He then spent two decades in energy-systems development at Ingersoll-Rand in Princeton. After retirement, Sam consulted for Foster Wheeler Corp. and did tax preparation at H&R Block with his wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Hepner, whom he married in 1950. She died in 1999. Sam enjoyed tennis, woodworking, sketching, and summers at Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.

Sam lived in Italy in the mid-1930s when his father, Harold Sr. 1911, worked there as a petroleum engineer. He is survived by his sons, Charlie, Hal, and Dave; daughter Janet Bell Naideau; and 11 grandchildren.

The Class of 1943

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