[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 23
1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]

Harry Bell, 2011 SCV Man of the Year


Funeral services for Harry Bell will take place Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Eternal Valley Memorial Park. Details are available by calling Janet or Ed at 252-5500.


The Ventura County Coroner’s office has identified 2011 SCV Man of the Year Harry Bell as one of two victims in a two-seater plane crash near Piru. Although the plane has two controls, the 89-year-old Bell was considered the pilot. His co-pilot was identified as 59 year-old Michael Dwain Boolen of Pacoima. Both men were credentialed as instructor pilots.

The plane went down at 1:25 p.m. Thursday near a residence in an orange grove belonging to Rancho Camulos; the crash site is directly across the street from the Rancho Camulos historic site, about 100 feet from Highway 126.

The plane ended up less than 50 feet from a residence in the grove and two teenaged daughters of the ranch caretaker were outside playing with their dog when they heard and saw the plane fall from the sky.

According to one of the girls, they saw the plane flying overhead and thought it was going to perform a “loop de loop” like they’d seen in movies, but instead, they heard a pop, then silence. When asked if she thought the plane’s engine went out, she said it was just “very quiet.” The plane made a hard landing on its belly.

Sgt. Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said that members of the sheriff’s bomb squad were sent to the scene to deactivate a small rocket device used to deploy a parachute in the event the aircraft experienced an emergency.

“On these lightweights, a parachute can deploy and slow down the landing if they have an emergency,” Buschow said. “For some reason, they didn’t activate it. We had to deactivate it to remove the danger to our officers and the coroner.”

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene Thursday for a preliminary report; the National Transportation Safety Bureau investigators arrived Friday and will determine what caused the crash.

Examples of TL-Ultralight aircraft.

Bell lived life at its fullest, participating in this year’s Fourth of July parade, driving a dignitary in the parade with his lady friend Thelma at his side and throwing himself a birthday party last Monday and being the life of the party, harmonizing with his singing buddies in barbershop style.

“His daughter who usually throws the parties was in Europe, so he said he was going to throw himself a party,” said Candy Spahr, who shared the dais with Bell when she was named Woman of the Year in 2011. “It was a beautiful celebration. All of his friends and loved ones were there with him.

File photo: Harry Bell with one of his previous airplanes. That’s Harry, but this isn’t the TL-Ultralight Sting Sport that crashed.

“I was totally shocked when I heard the news,” she continued. “He talked about his airplane at the party, it wasn’t a favorite of Thelma’s, he said he would be done with airplane soon. He was so full of life and loved flying.

“It’s devastating news. We are so sorry to see such an extraordinary man gone.”

Michael Boolen was a commercial pilot and certified flight instructor with all the fixed-wing ratings based at Whiteman Airport in Van Nuys. He had more than 12,000 hours of flight time and more than 40 years of aviation experience.

Copiot Michael Boolen | Facebook photo

Boolen also owned an electrical engineering firm in Van Nuys and often worked as a consultant for people with aviation, electrical or contracting needs.

He wrote as introduction on his website, “I am a gentleman and a hard-working, positive individual full of ideas.”

Bell has been a pillar of the community for many years and the news of his death shocked the community.

Ed Bolden was Harry’s business partner, fellow Rotarian and lifelong friend. The pair met when Bell was working as a civil engineer for the County and Bolden was designing the North Oaks tract around 1961. Three years later, they formed Andel Engineering.

Michael Boolen and family | Facebook photo

“He spent a lot of time doing work with strong ethics for the clientele that he had,” Bolden said. “He was very sincere and conscientious and I tried to do that as well.”

Bell invited Bolden to join the local Rotary Club, which broke the color barrier. When the club members launched into patriotic song, Bell was always the first note; singing was one of his favorite hobbies.

Upon learning of Bell’s death, Robin Clough from the SCV Senior Center said: “This is truly devastating. Harry will be sorely missed by his Senior Center family. We had the pleasure of his vibrant and often humorous conversation, volunteerism, and especially hearing him sing and dance with his beloved Thelma. It was an honor to know Harry.”


READ Harry Bell’s life story and watch a short video here => http://scvhistory.com/scvhistory/mwoty2011harrybell.htm


Harry Bell in a Newhall Fourth of July Parade with his prophetic license plate, LO I FLY. He rode in the 2012 parade the day before the crash. A Rotarian as well as a Shriner and Mason, he owns the property at the northeast corner of Main and 5th streets where the Rotary Club holds its annual July 4th pancake breakfasts.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Sally Bond says:

    What a lovely tribute to a wonderful man!
    My late husband flew with him sometimes and they were also in the same barbershop singing group “The Men of Harmony”. What a tragic loss of such an amazing man!
    He was so proud of his new ‘plane and we would meet him at Agua Dulce Airport for their monthly barbeque.
    Thank you for posting this.

Leave a Comment

SCV NewsBreak
Monday, Oct 23, 2017
Cina Faces Enhanced Charges in Death of Katie Evans
A Canyon Country woman faces enhanced charges and increased bail in the death of a mother of a mother of six who was killed in a car crash on Golden Valley Road Oct. 6, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.
Monday, Oct 23, 2017
SCV Sheriff’s Station Suspends Safe Drug Drop Off Program
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has suspended its "Safe Drug Drop-Off" program for unwanted prescription drugs, sharps and narcotics pending reassessment of the program, according to officials.
Monday, Oct 23, 2017
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Petty Theft in Saugus
Here is the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's public safety report for Saugus (Zone 4) for October 9-15, 2017.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
California State University, Northridge officials have named the building that houses the university’s business college Bookstein Hall, in honor of alumni Harriet and Harvey Bookstein and their generous support of CSUN over the years.
CSUN Names Business College Building for Harvey and Harriet Bookstein
Bowman Continuation High School science teacher Ravinder Athwal has been nominated for the 2017-2018 National LifeChanger of the Year award.
Bowman Science Teacher Nominated National LifeChanger of the Year
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Santa Clarita will present "Jazz Vespers: A Celebration of Life, Spirit and Music" in honor of All Saints Day on Sunday, November 5 starting at 7 p.m.
Nov. 5: Jazz Vespers at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
A Canyon Country woman faces enhanced charges and increased bail in the death of a mother of a mother of six who was killed in a car crash on Golden Valley Road Oct. 6, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.
Cina Faces Enhanced Charges in Death of Katie Evans
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has suspended its "Safe Drug Drop-Off" program for unwanted prescription drugs, sharps and narcotics pending reassessment of the program, according to officials.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Suspends Safe Drug Drop Off Program
Here is the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's public safety report for Saugus (Zone 4) for October 9-15, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Petty Theft in Saugus
California's attorney general and a coalition of 16 fellow AG's sent a letter to Congressional leadership Monday urging Congress to reject legislation that would force every state to recognize the concealed firearm carry standards of every other state.
California AG Urges Congress to Oppose Concealed-Carry Reciprocity
The Santa Clarita Community College District's Board of Trustees will conduct a joint business meeting with the Associated Student Government at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country Campus on Wednesday, October 25, starting at 3 p.m.
Oct. 25: COC Board of Trustees, Student Government Meeting
Here is the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s public safety report for Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) for October 9-15, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Shoplifting in Stevenson Ranch
Here is the complete agenda for the Sulphur Springs Union School District's regular meeting of the Governing Board on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: Sulphur Springs School District Governing Board Meeting
College of the Canyons freshman golfer Joanna Roecker was named the Western State Conference Female Athlete of the Week for week six (Oct. 1-7, 2017).
COC Golfer Joanna Roecker Named WSC Female Athlete of the Week
The College of the Canyons Athletics Department hosted a FUNdamentals Football Camp and "Punt, Pass, Kick" Challenge organized by Special Olympics Southern California and the Los Angeles Rams.
COC Athletics Hosts FUNdamentals Football Camp with Special Olympics, L.A. Rams
The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation arrived at REDCAT with its 2017 festival selections on Saturday.
Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation Lights Up REDCAT
The West Hollywood Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series (WHAP!), co-hosted by CalArts MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics and the city of West Hollywood, opened its fall 2017 series on Friday, and has two more lectures coming up this month and next.
CalArts Co-Hosts Fall 2017 WHAP! Lecture Series
The four Democrats running to be California’s next governor vowed to resist the Trump administration, protect the state’s sanctuary status, increase affordable housing and boost jobs and education during their first joint forum Sunday.
Gubernatorial Hopefuls Mostly Agree on Universal Health Care
TMU soccer player Brayden Campos is taking a crash course in goalkeeping. Two full games into his new gig, the freshman keeper is settling in just fine.
TMU Men’s Soccer: Campos Growing Into the Job
Early in Saturday’s second half, Sarah Stead chipped a short shot over the Jessup keeper’s head and into the goal, and Master’s hung on for a 1-0 win, its first shutout in two weeks.
TMU Women’s Soccer Team Blanks William Jessup 1-0
The Golden State Athletic Conference released its preseason coaches poll on Saturday morning, and The Master’s University men’s basketball team was projected to finish first.
TMU Men’s Basketball Tops GSAC Preseason Coaches Poll
In cross country, the No. 8-ranked TMU Mustang women finished third and the Mustang men finished fourth at the Warrior Invitational.
Mikesell Leads TMU Cross Country Through Rehearsal
Despite several bright spots in the home match, the Mustangs lost 3-1 by scores of 25-27, 25-21, 25-20 and 25-16.
Mustangs Volleyballers Corralled by Vanguard 3-1
In some sense, Thursday night’s match at Hope International in Fullerton summed up the Mustangs’ season to this point.
Hope International Bests Matadors Volleyball
A car crashed into the bedroom of a home on Wiley Canyon Road Saturday night, but no one was injured or arrested.
Car Makes Unwanted Visit to Newhall Home
A woman has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in a stabbing incident in Stevenson Ranch Saturday night.
Woman Charged in Alleged Stabbing of Friend in Stevenson Ranch
1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]
Bobbi Jean and her husband Jim Bell, whose OutWest clothing store and popular TV concert series celebrated all things Western and equestrian and helped revitalize Old Town Newhall over the past decade, will soon ride east into the sunrise: They’re moving to New Mexico.
OutWest Owners Jim and Bobbi Jean Bell Ride East Into the Sunrise
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a sexual assault suspect was arrested Thursday night. Plus, some great weekend events. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, October 20, 2017
Forever Fit SCV, a Santa Clarita sports and personal fitness training company, will host a "Pumpkin Workout" at its Centre Pointe location on Saturday, October 28, starting at 9 a.m.
Oct. 25: Pumpkin Workout Benefits American Cancer Society
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set for Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: Hart School District Governing Board Meeting
The LA County Public Defender has won the Silver Eagle Award for its Public Defender Jail Liaison Program during the 31st Annual Productivity and Quality Awards Ceremony on Oct. 18 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
LA County Public Defender Soars with Silver Eagle Award
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a heat alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the Los Angeles Basin on Monday, October 23 through Tuesday, October 24.
Heat Alert for SCV, L.A. County on Monday, Tuesday
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has received three major gifts toward the creation of the museum in Los Angeles, bringing fundraising to more than $300M, nearly 80 percent of its $388M campaign goal.
Motion Picture Museum Nears $388M Campaign Goal
Caltrans added nearly 1,200 lane miles of pavement repair and 66 bridges to its growing list of projects to be delivered sooner than planned, thanks to the imminent influx of revenue from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1), the transportation funding and reform package passed in April.
Nearly $3.4 Billion in Transportation Projects to Be Accelerated
The city of Santa Clarita and SCV Veterans Memorial, Inc. invite the public to attend a special ceremony unveiling the new Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on Wednesday, November 8 starting at 10 a.m.
Nov. 8: City Unveils Fallen Warriors Monument in Newhall
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station along with Los Angeles County Probation Department officers conducted probation compliance searches Friday throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV Deputies Check Probationers, Aid in Domestic Violence Call