Morley Bell

Obituary of Morley Bruce Bell

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Morley passed away peacefully at The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, in Ottawa on February 24, 2023, succumbing to Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his partner of over fifty years, Pierre (Peter) Brault, his brothers Mervyn (Iris) and Glen (late Shirley), his niece Marcia Bell, and his nephews Daniel (Leanne), John (Lisa), and Tim (Linda). He is predeceased by his parents Melville Bell and Irene Bell (née Wylie) of Coldwater, Ontario.


Born in Coldwater, Morley spent his formative years on his family’s farm in the neighboring area. Later, he studied at the University of Western Ontario and undertook his graduate studies at the University of Toronto. Morley then moved to Ottawa where he began his career as a radio astronomer at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics at the National Research Council of Canada. His work took him to major observatories around the world, including a year at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh; Hilo, Hawaii; Greenbank, West Virginia, and others. Throughout his career, Morley, in collaboration with colleagues, authored a substantial number of scientific papers that were published in major science journals. A notable contribution was in the detection of the largest molecule known at the time of the discovery. Morley remained passionate about astrophysics both during his career, and in retirement, where he continued his research at the National Research Council.


As well, after he retired, Morley took up violin-making, a hobby inspired by his background in physics. Over the years, he made about thirty instruments, many of which are now in the hands of appreciative musicians.


Special thanks to the staff in the emergency ward and in ”8 West” at the General Hospital, for their care and compassion during Morley’s last days. Special thanks also to staff at Champlain LHIN and at Carefor for their valuable in-home assistance earlier.


Burial will be at the Hobart Cemetery, Oro-Medonte in late spring. At Morley’s request, there will be no funeral.

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