Ralph Mack Bell, 73, passed away peacefully at home May 20. Mack was born in Tucumcari on Feb. 28, 1944, to Ralph and Faye (Maben) Bell. Mack and his older sister, Dixie, were in junior high when the family moved to Santiago, Chile in South America for two years. Ralph worked as a watershed specialist and Mack learned to speak Spanish, a skill he would enjoy for a lifetime. He graduated from Robertson High School in Las Vegas in 1962 and received a degree in Range Management from NMSU in 1966. Mack married Betty Ann Bond of Corona on June 3, 1967. Mack worked as a Soil Conservationist in Artesia, Gallup and Española before purchasing a farm in Tucumcari. Mack worked as a science teacher during the school year and farmed year-round before expanding his operation in 1978 by purchasing a ranch in Corona. Mack continued to work in Tucumcari, but he made Corona his home. Mack’s 6’4” stature included a big heart and a big handshake. He was genuinely interested in people’s lives and enjoyed helping others succeed. Mack was an elder in the Corona Presbyterian Church and helped sponsor Christian youth activities. He supported Corona High School sports, rodeo, 4-H and FFA. Mack liked to work. He put many miles on vehicles and equipment actively farming at Tucumcari and ranching at Corona. He liked to turn broken parts into something useful. His love of old trucks led to a colorful collection of vintage vehicles. In addition to running his farm and ranch operations, he was always a supporter of community activities. He served on the Corona Board of Education, Lincoln County Fair Board, Lincoln County Planning and Zoning Commission, Canadian River Soil and Water Conservation District, Quay County Farm Bureau and was on the Board of Trustees for the Lincoln County Medical Center in Ruidoso. Mack was a member of N.M. Cattle Growers Association and Lincoln County Farm Bureau. He served on the board of directors for Farm Credit of New Mexico. Mack also served on the Otero / Lincoln FSA County Committee. He received Outstanding Conservationist awards from the Carrizozo Soil and Water Conservation District. He was preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Faye Bell of Tucumcari, in-laws, Dimmitt and Johnnie Bond of Corona and his grandson Colten Gunn of Ft. Sumner. Mack is survived by his loving wife, Betty Ann, daughter, Beverly Gunn (Clifford) of Ft. Sumner, grandchildren Katelyn Gunn of Phoenix, Arizona and McKayla Draper (Lane) of Okinawa, Japan, son, Dan Bell, (Crystal), of Corona, grandchildren Saige and Kyler Bell of Corona, sister Dixie Heckendorn (Harry) of Tucumcari and their children, Jody Lamm (Bob), John Heckendorn (Cathy) and Julie McDaniel (Mac), brother-in-law, Lerry Bond (Martha) and their children, Debbie Kuenning (Lance) of Imperial Nebraska and Mary Beth Bond of Albuquerque. Funeral services celebrating Mack’s were held May 23 at the auditorium of Corona Schools, with Pastor Cal West officiating. Pall bearers were Lerry Bond, Harry Heckendorn, Clifford Gunn, Jerry Faver, Leon Porter, Joe Clavel, Pete Gnatkowski, Walter Garfield. Honorary pallbearers were Robert Curtis, George Faver, Paul Miller, Efrin Diaz, Virgil Owen, Wess Wells. Memorials may be made to the Village of Corona, to support the local Cemetery, Park, Library and Fire Department. Contact Village Clerk Terri Racher at P.O. Box 37 Corona, NM 88318 or 575-849-5511. Arrangements were entrusted to Harris-Hanlon Mortuary.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.