By AFRO Staff
Dr. Lawrence Bell, Jr., who operated a successful dental office at the corner of Auchentoroly Terrace and Gwynns Falls Parkway in West Baltimore for decades and was patriarch of a political family, died on May 18. He was 77.
Bell was the second of five children born to the late Lawrence Bell, Sr. and Roxie Bell. Lawrence received Jesus Christ early in life, regularly attending The House of Prayer for All People with his family, and in recent years, reconfirmed his faith by being baptized at Christian Memorial Church.
In 1958, Bell became the father of a daughter, Wanda (deceased). He received his early education in Baltimore City Public Schools, graduating from Frederick Douglass High School in 1960, and in the following year, welcomed his first-born son, Zane. Lawrence became the first in his family to attend college, attending Morgan State College, where he pursued a degree in biology. It was there that he met Elinor Willis, the love of his life and wife of 57 years, whom he married in 1961. From this union was born two sons, Lawrence, III and Marshall. During his time at Morgan, Bell pledged Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity. In 1963 he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Bell was among the first African-American students to graduate from the University of Maryland, School of Dentistry, receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1974. After a brief period practicing at the Provident Druid Health Clinic on West North Avenue, and at an office on Duvall Avenue with his friend, Dr. Willie Richardson, Bell opened his own practice at the corner of Auchentoroly Terrace and Gwynns Falls Parkway, across from Druid Hill Park. It was there that he began to solidify his long legacy of providing quality dental care for the residents of Baltimore City, often with little regard for their means to pay. It was common knowledge that Dr. Bell would always find a way to help one receive the assistance they required. Along with his wife Elinor, a pillar of the community was built. Bell was an avid supporter of small businesses in the community, and was a longtime member of the Auchentoroly Terrace Association. Always the sharp dresser, Bell also enjoyed sharing good times with close friends and family. He could often be found socializing at the Sphinx Club on Pennsylvania Ave., or on his way to another exotic location around the globe, often vacationing with his close-knit extended family. He and Elinor, alone, were constant jetsetters, blessed to have spent time together enjoying countless cultures, foods, sights and scenes in countries all around the world. Bell’s loyalty to and love for his family was boundless. In addition to membership in Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity,Baltimore Alumnae Chapter, and the Auchentoroly Terrace Association, Lawrence was a member of the National Dental Society, Inc., State of Maryland Chapter; member of the Frederick Douglass High School Alumnae Organization; and lifetime member of the NAACP, Baltimore City Chapter. Bell leaves to cherish his memory: his devoted wife, Elinor; sons, Zane Bell, Lawrence Bell, III, and Marshall Bell; grandchildren, Tylar, Kyle, and Jordan; brother, Kermit Golden, and sisters, Minnie Saunders, Carrie Johnson, and Lucinda ( “Sarah” ) Horsey; and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends.