|Birth: ||Aug. 8, 1938|
|Death: ||May 6, 2009|
Great Falls Tribune
BIGFORK - James Allen "Jim" Bell, 70, died of natural causes Wednesday in Bigfork.
Burial will take place at 1 p.m. today in Swan View Memorial Gardens. His memorial service is 5 p.m. Monday at Faith Lutheran Junior/Senior High School in Las Vegas. Buffalo Hill Bigfork Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Jim was called to heaven on May 6, 2009. He enjoyed his final days peacefully at his summer home in Bigfork, overlooking Flathead Lake, surrounded by his wife, daughter, son and their spouses, along with his most treasured five grandchildren, who affectionately referred to him as "Poppa."
Jim was born in Shelby, on Aug. 8, 1938. His family moved to Great Falls, where he enjoyed his high-school days as a running back for the Great Falls Bison. After high school graduation, he left for Minneapolis, Minn., to attend Humboldt Business Institute. He then went to Chicago to work for the Burlington Railroad, and was president of their Booster Club. During the evenings, he worked at the Phillips 66 service station.
Jim met Carole Klatt while working for the Burlington Railroad, and then they married. In 1962, they moved to Red Cloud, Neb., where he owned and operated a Texaco service station for four years. They had their first child.
They moved to Nevada in 1967, when his Uncle Vic Whittlesea asked him for his assistance in running Whittlesea's Taxi Service in Reno and Las Vegas. In 1968, their second child was born in Las Vegas. Jim learned the business from the ground up and ran the day-to-day operations with his uncle until Vic's passing in 1972.
Jim had been retired for the past 11 years as the former chairman and president of Whittlesea Bell Transportation-Taxicab, Limousine and Bus Services in Las Vegas. He founded the first two limousine companies in Las Vegas, called Whittlesea VIP Limousine and Silver State Limousine, and later founded Las Vegas Mini-bus and Las Vegas Strip Trolley, now known as Bell Trans. Bell Trans became the largest limousine company in the nation.
Jim was a born leader whose vision, determination and fortitude not only built a strong family business but set the standard in the industry. His kind, generous nature, combined with his fiercely competitive spirit, served him well in all aspects of his incredible life. Jim always put the industry's needs before his own. His philosophy of industry first was truly admired by his family, colleagues, friends and, most of all, the thousands of people who had the pleasure to work for him.
Jim was a former stock car and off-road racer. He introduced auto racing to his brothers and children, and made it a family affair. He had hundreds of victories to his credit as a driver, car owner and sponsor. He also was an accomplished water skier from a young age and continued to ski every summer until to his 70th birthday. During the last several summers, he took great pride in driving the boat and teaching all five grandchildren how to water ski. His favorite hobby was watching his grandchildren perform and compete in dance, plays and basketball. When the grandchildren weren't competing, he was following his favorite drivers, watching NASCAR and his other favorite sports, UNLV basketball and Montana Griz football.
Jim was always a leader, from a small boy until the end of his days. His kindness and generosity brought many people together, and his smile was contagious. He taught his children and grandchildren humility and kindness. Jim's devotion to his wife, children, grandchildren and his endless number of friends will be missed dearly, but his memory will be cherished with pride.
Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Effie McKechnie, and father, Horace D. Bell; and stepmother Paula J. Bell.
He is survived by his wife, Michelle Compton Bell; daughter Paula Bell-Saxton; son Brent Bell; son-in-law David Saxton; daughter-in-law Suzanne Bell; and grandchildren Kinsey Netzorg, Blake Bell, Peyton Saxton, Lily Saxton and Lauren Bell. He provided leadership on this earth for the very last time to his brothers and sisters, Nadyne Bell Ritter, Gary Bell, Larry Bell, Sharlene Bell Dugas, Jerry Bell, Terry Bell and Timothy Bell.
The family wishes to express its appreciation to the many loving and supportive friends.
Memorials in Jim's name may be donated to the Bigfork Playhouse.
Thank you, Dad, for being the man who always had the biggest heart, but who also taught us life's greatest lessons!
Big Fork Community Cemetery
Created by: ROA
Record added: May 11, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 36976775