David E. Bell (1919-2000) was a
director of the United
of Management and Budget from January 22, 1961 until December
20, 1962 under President John F.
Kennedy named him director of the Agency for International
in late 1962. He left government service in 1966 to
become the Executive Vice President of the Ford Foundation
David and Mary Bell with their two
David E. Bell was born on January 20, 1919, in
Dakota, to Florence and Reginald Bell. He spent part of his
youth in San
Francisco, while his
father was teaching at Stanford University.
In 1939 he received a B.A. from Pomona College, California, and in 1941 a M.A. in economics from
On November 17, 1943, he married Mary Louise Barry.
met, Mary worked at the Commerce Department and later was employed as a 4th grade
David and Mary had two children: a daughter Susan,
born December 20, 1944, and a son Peter, born March 22, 1948.
and their children traveled extensively in all parts of the world,
and lived in several locations, including New York City, Boston,
D.C., and Karachi, Pakistan.
He continued to travel the world with his
wife up until the time of his death.
of leukemia on September 6, 2000, in
He was 81 years old. He is survived by his
two children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Bell was notably tall and thin, and had an avid interest in
arts and crafts
. His home was filled
with items he and his wife collected on their many trips abroad.
Both Bell and his wife loved jazz and had friends in the arts. They
were socially progressive for their time regarding sexual
orientation, race and religion. The Bells strongly opposed
segregation and sent their children to integrated schools.
Bell joined the United States
in December, 1942. He was trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, Camp Pendleton, California, and Quantico,
Virginia, where he was an instructor.
He served on land in
Pearl Harbor from July 1945 until he was released from active duty
on 21 September of the same year, at which point he was a First Lieutenant
. He was promoted to the
rank of Captain
on 19 July 1948 and
was honorably discharged
December 16th, 1957.
In 1942, he became a staff member at the Bureau of the Budget.
During W.W. II
to 1945) he served in the Marine Corps. From 1947 to 1951, Bell
alternated between a position on the staff at the Bureau of the
Budget, and a position as a special assistant to President Harry Truman
. In 1951, Bell became
Administrative Executive to the President. In these positions Bell
worked on the formulation and evaluation of the administration's
economic policies and programs. During this time, Bell also worked
as a speech writer for President Truman.
President Kennedy with a picture of
In 1952, Bell left Washington temporarily to join the campaign
staff of the Democratic
president, Adlai Stevenson
served Stevenson as a speech writer and as Stevenson's White House
liaison. When the Truman administration ended in January 1953, Bell
returned to private life. At the end of 1960, President-elect
Kennedy asked Bell to become the Director of the Bureau of the
Budget. Bell accepted, and was immediately put to work during the
Eisenhower/Kennedy transition helping to formulate the new
administration's economic policy. Some of Bell's other tasks were
to map out legislative proposals and strategy, and to review the
proposals made by other government agencies. At the end of 1962,
President Kennedy asked Bell to become the new Administrator for
the Agency for
, created in response to the Foreign Assistance Act
of 1961. In
this post Bell worked at developing foreign aid programs and
legislation and appealing for funds and fighting budget
Ford Foundation Work
Bell left the government in the summer of 1966, and became
Executive Vice President of the Ford
, a private independent institution dedicated to
advancing social justice in the US and in developing nations.
During his time at the Ford Foundation, Bell was a member of a
large number of advisory committees dealing with foreign aid and
government reorganization. He left the Ford Foundation in