Howard L. Bell, Jr.

 Dr. Dixie L. (Kepley) Arnold

Howard L. Bell, Jr., Raytown High School, Class of 1950

Howard Bell graduated from Raytown High in 1950.  He received his undergraduate degree in music education in 1953 from University of Central Missouri and a Master of Music Education from Louisiana State University in 1956.  Before beginning his music education career he served in the U.S. army at Fort Ord, California, and Fort San Houston, Texas, where he directed the first infantry band during basic training.

Howard then began his career at Kemper Military School teaching band and choir, later moving to Marshall Public Schools where he was the director of bands.  In 1964 he became the director of University bands, assistant professor of music and chairman of the wind department, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia.

From 1967 until his retirement in 1980 he was music instructor and the first district coordinator of music for the Raytown Schools.

Mr. Bell was selected to be the conductor of the West Virginia All-State High School Band in 1964.  In 1970 he founded the “Heart of America Theatre,” which offers young artists advanced opportunities to perform. The “Music Man” cast of 97 people toured Europe performing in five countries.  As chairman of the Vocational Guidance Committee of Kiwanis in 1972, Howard leads the committee that developed a procedure to tape speakers and accumulate pertinent data about professions in education.  Howard is also proud to be the author of “Smart Parent, Smart Child’, a guide to the best possible start in life through food choices.  He was instrumental in founding the “Scholarship Day” for the Raytown Schools to provide scholarships to seniors at Raytown and Raytown South High School and the Herndon Career Center in 2005.

Howard and Zelia, married almost 60 years, have three daughters, three grandchildren and two great- granddaughters.  Zeila often refers to Howard as her “Renaissance Man” because he is always looking for and embracing new fields of interest.