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Leard L. Bell Sr. Obituary
Leard Lapere Bell, Sr. was born on March 5, 1930 in Kansa City, Kansas to the late Jess Bell and Etta Mae Scarcy. He was the second of five children. After graduating from R. T. Coles Vocational School in 1944 and the breakup of his family, he moved with his mother, brother and two sisters to Los Angeles where he dropped out of school to support his family by working manual labor jobs. During this period he found his true love, music! He was a self-taught drummer that played by ear. If he heard it once he could play it! At the age of 15 he started a teenage band that played at parties and neighborhood dances. By 1947 he had become so proficient at playing the Rhythm and Blues that he was hired to be the drummer for the Big Jay McNeely band. From 1948 through 1958 he was the Assistant Drummer (AKA: Kansas City Bell) of the Johnny Otis band, where he recorded multiple records playing behind the legends of the Rhythm Blues and travelled the “Chitlin Circuit” across the US. He ended his music career as the Band Leader for Sam Cooke in 1958. At this time he transitioned to family life when he married his first wife (GeNeva) and had a son (Leard L. Bell, Jr). Wanting to be the best father he could he decided to change careers so that he would not be away from his family for extended periods. He transitioned to the Trucking business where from 1960 until retirement in 2008 he held various positions of increasing responsibility (loader, driver, dispatcher/foreman and Owner/Operator: L. L. Bell & Son Trucking).
Even though Leard did not graduate from high school he was a strong proponent of formal education. He always encouraged family and friends to go back to school. So at the ripe young age of 78 years old, Leard went back to school! In 2014, at the age of 84, he received his GED certificate from the Centinela Valley Adult School. Leard was such an inspiration to those around him that he was selected to deliver the keynote speech at the graduation ceremony. It was one of the proudest moments of his life.
In 1985 Leard met the love of his life, Paula Ramos. They were happily married for over 30 years until his passing on August 7, 2018. Paula and Leard loved weekend getaways. They would routinely take his gleaming black Cadillac Eldorado or his white Chevy van on the road to Reno, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego, Tijuana and San Francisco. They also travelled to Maui to observe breathtaking sunsets, party at the luau, and shop for family and friends.
Big Bell, as he was affectionately known, loved his family. There was nothing he would not do to help family. He raised his siblings, son, nephews, nieces, and stepchildren and he loved them all. In his leisure time he listened to jazz, reminisced about the good old days, watched action movies, daytime soap operas, and sports! Leard was a diehard Laker fan. He also enjoyed family gatherings such as birthdays, weddings, quinceaneras, and BBQ’s, anytime there was great food, family, and friends.
Leard leaves to celebrate his life and continue his legacy, his devoted wife of over 30 years, Paula Bell; son, Leard Bell, Jr. (Kim Bell); granddaughter: Porsche’ Bell; great granddaughter: Angel Wilson; stepsons, Ricardo Reyes, Juan Manuel Reyes, and Alberto Reyes; stepdaughters: Concepcion Perez, Maribel Reyes, Sandra Reyes; sister’s-in-laws: Joyce Glasgow and Betty Ussery of Los Angeles, California; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Leard was preceded in death by his brother Albert Glasgow; two sisters: Gloria DuBois and Lucille Handsome; and his parents Etta Mae Glasgow and Jess Bell.