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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
John Montgomerie-Bell


Studiousness, combined with the habit of thoroughness, has brought John Montgomerie-Bell to a position of prominence at the Calgary bar and he conducts his law practice with strict regard for the highest ethical standards of the profession. He was born in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, June 18, 1879, and his parents, Mathew and Jane (Cockburn) Montgomerie-Bell, were also natives of that country. The father was one of the leading barristers of Edinburgh, where he successfully followed his profession for many years. His death occurred in that city in February, 1917, while the mother passed away in September, 1897.

The public schools of his native city afforded John Montgomerie-Bell his early educational advantages and he afterward became a student at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University, graduating from the latter institution on the completion of a course in law, it being his desire to follow in the professional footsteps of his father. In 1904, when a young man of twenty-five, he severed home ties and started for the States, making his way to the Pacific Northwest. For two years he operated a fruit ranch in the celebrated Yakima valley of Washington and in 1906 crossed the border into Canada, locating in Calgary, Alberta. In the following year he returned to Edinburgh and entered a law office of that city, in which he remained until 1911, when the lure of the new world brought him back to Canada. He spent a short time in Vancouver, British Columbia, and in September, 1912, returned to Calgary, entering the law offices of Lougheed & Bennett. He continued with that firm until 1916, when he enlisted for service in the World war, and was later commissioned a lieutenant. He went overseas with the Fiftieth Battalion and participated in several major operations on the western front. He was wounded on January 18, 1918, and returned to Canada in October, receiving his discharge in December, 1918. For two years thereafter he had charge of the information and service branches of the Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment bureau and on the expiration of that period he devoted a year to agency work. In November, 1921, he resumed the practice of law, remaining alone until July, 1922, when he was joined by C. W. Coole, who received the LL. B. degree from Cambridge University of England and is now a member of the firm, which has taken its place with the foremost in the city.

In April, 1913, Mr. Montgomerie-Bell married Miss Jean Macleod, the youngest daughter of Colonel James F. and Mary (Drever) Macleod, the former of whom died in 1894. The mother survives and is now a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Two daughters have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Montgomerie-Bell: Helen Rothnie, whose birth occurred in December, 1914; and Roma Macleod, born in June, 1920. Mr. Montgomerie-Bell adheres to the teachings of the Anglican church and is one of the vestrymen of Christ church of that denomination at Elbow Park, a suburb of Calgary. His political support is given to the Conservative party, and while he has never sought nor held public office, he is deeply interested in all that pertains to the welfare and progress of his adopted city. He is a member of the Calgary Golf & Country Club and during his student days took an active part in athletic sports, in which he excelled, being particularly well known for his prowess as a football player. At the outset of his professional career he learned the necessity for thorough preparation and never enters a courtroom without being fully prepared to present his case in the strong, clear light of sound reasoning, based upon the fact and the law. He is thoroughly alive to the dignity and responsibility of his profession and has gained the respect and esteem of his fellow practitioners and the confidence of the general public.


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