John R. Bell, lifelong Chicago resident and frequent contributor to national financial and real estate magazines, died in January. He was 89.
Chicago Tribune Obituary
Born in Hammond, Ind., John moved to Chicago as a teenager and resided in Chicago ever since. He segued into writing the John Carmichael Texaco Sports Final for CBS Radio, and later to publicize peacetime atomic energy R&D as a member of the first public information staff at Argonne National Laboratory.
While at Argonne, he initiated coverage of the work that Argonne was doing by contacting CBS journalist Charles Collingwood. This resulted in a one-hour program produced and broadcast nationally on CBS.
John also held several corporate PR positions, including at J. Walter Thompson, General Motors, Montgomery Ward and H. Rozoff and Associates. He added real estate and financial writing to his portfolio when H. Rozoff and Associates obtained a number of real estate and financial accounts.
After he retired, he was a frequent contributor to Mortgage Banking, the official magazine of the Mortgage Banking Association, until it ceased publication in 2016. In writing to his editor at that time, he said that “Mortgage Banking was a unique publication—like no other in its field.” She wrote back agreeing that “the magazine was something very special,” adding “you were part of the magazine’s success.”
His articles for Mortgage Banking included coverage of the growth and recovery of the national office market; profile of Wrightwood Capital, the Chicago-based commercial/real estate finance firm; the growth of mixed use developments; the development of business/industrial parks; the nation’s Downtowns going green; multifamily apartment markets; five-star hotel markets; industrial recovery; the move to Downtowns; and economic growth in gateway cities.
He wrote cover stories for the National Real Estate Investor and his cover story profiles of Chrysler’s CEO Robert Eaton and Wilson Sporting Goods executive Jim Bough appeared in Industry Week (IW).
He was also a contributor to Pension Management, the Journal of Property Management (JPM), Progressive Railroading, Flying Careers, Air Cargo World, and Cahners Assembly Magazine.
John enjoyed music, the theater, and raising English Bulldogs—and said he had created the world’s finest barbecue sauce.
He and his wife, Virginia, celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary Sept. 8, 2019. They have two daughters, Monica (John) Muhs and Vanessa (Leon) LaSota; three grand-daughters, Dr. Amanda (Alex) Saratsis, Sara Muhs, and Leigh (AJ) Grimberg; and two great-grandchildren, Beckett and Eva Saratsis.