Gary Bell, a longtime local community leader who was elected to Richmond’s City Council in November, died at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek early Thursday morning. Bell was 54.< p>< p>< p>Bell had fallen ill days before the 2012 election and slipped into a coma following a “severe bacterial sinus infection.”
InJanuary, Bell’s family released a statement days before he was scheduled to be sworn in to office to announce his inability to serve. The council later appointed Jael Myrick to fill Bell’s seat.
“As much as Gary and his supporters worked to win election to the council, we know Gary unselfishly wants what is best for the people of Richmond,” Shelley Ross-Bell said in the news release. “On behalf of our entire family, we offer our regrets that my husband is now unable to serve as many had hoped. We thank each of you for your cards, support, love and prayers.”
Prior to Bell first serving on the Richmond City Council in 1999, he was president and CEO of Cooperative Federal Credit Union in Berkeley. In 2006, he ran for mayor, losing in a three-way race between Gayle McLaughlin and incumbent Irma Anderson.
Bell is survived by his wife Shelley Ross-Bell, and two adult sons, Gary Bell Jr. and Germaine Bell.