James E. Bell, 94, of Idaho Falls, passed away from cancer on Thursday, August 20th, 2020 with his wife Jean and his primary caretaker Brandon Bell, grandson, at his side. He had been at home under the care of his family and Hospice of Eastern Idaho.
Jim was born July 19, 1926 in Rupert, Idaho to Edith Stacy. Shortly after, the family moved to the Oakland, California area. The family returned to Cassia County several years later. Jim finished his schooling in Southern Idaho, graduating from Burley High School in 1943. After high school, Jim joined the Navy and served in the engine room of an LST (tank landing ship) in WW II's Pacific Theater. Among other locations, his ship had been active in Leyte (the Philippines) and Okinawa. Jim was honorably discharged in 1946 at the rank of Motor Machinist Mate First Class.
Jim attended the University of Idaho, earning his degree in Electrical Engineering, thanks to the GI Bill. After graduation, he joined General Electric, working mostly in Syracuse, New York. There, at a party held for test engineers and student nurses, he met his future wife, Jean. They married in 1952 and had two sons, Larry and Jimmy. Later, Jim worked for Westinghouse, in Maryland, where their family resided in the Baltimore area. In 1967 Jim returned to Idaho to work as a manager at the INL. After several years, tiring of the daily work commute, he pursued a second career. Jim opened his own business, working as an accountant until his retirement in 2012.
Jim and Jean enjoyed traveling around the United States and to many countries around the world. Together they enjoyed many activities, including fishing, softball, cross-country skiing, playing cards, square-dancing, and entertaining. They loved spoiling their grandchildren! Jim was a life-long bowler and a skilled hand at blackjack and poker. He won many bowling awards, and even won several tournaments in both bowling and cards. During his ‘second career, until just recently, "Jimbo" (as his many Jackpot friends called him) loved going to Jackpot NV to play cards, meet new and old friends, and to provide tips to any who would listen. From his well of life-experience, he always seemed able to draw up an interesting story to compliment most any topic of conversation. He was highly intelligent, observant, and thoughtful.
Jim was an active Protestant and had held most church leadership positions within the Harundale Presbyterian Church in Maryland, as well as at the (former) Idaho Falls First Baptist Church. Until recently, he had attended St. Paul's Methodist Church.
Jim is survived by his wife of sixty-eight years, Vera Jean Bell, their two sons Larry and Jimmy Bell, six grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, and all the in-laws (and out-laws) that have come along with them. He will be greatly missed!
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no memorial is planned at this time.