James “Jim” Bell had a special way with all children, daughter Barbara Bell said.
“We remember him really enjoying our cottage in Michigan,” she said. “One of the things he enjoyed most was the kids who were around. All my friends really loved my dad.”
Bell, 89, of Hammond, was wise, had a good sense of humor and didn’t take himself too seriously, she said.
“When I was 11 years old, he took me to my first baseball game at Wrigley Field,” Barbara Bell said. “My brother also came and a friend. He took the day off from work and we took the subway.”
Prior to going, Bell cared enough to talk to the girl’s mother and explain everything they would be doing so she would be comfortable, Barbara Bell said.
“It was the early 70’s and unusual for a dad to take the day off to take three kids to a baseball game, make all the arrangements, think it through and talk to someone’s mother,” she said.
Spending his entire 40-year career working at Standard Oil (Amoco) in labor relations, Bell was slow to judge others, giving them the benefit of the doubt, his daughter said.
“Because he worked in HR he understood what happens to people when they are fired,” Barbara Bell said. “Even though he was in management, I think he understood what is was like to be an average worker.”
Married to the late Lois Bell for 62 years, the couple had four children.
Bell read hundreds of books and created several pieces of art out of wood.
A World War II Army Air Corps veteran, Bell was a gunner stationed at several air bases during the war. He was at Alamogordo Air Base in New Mexico, when the atomic bomb was being tested in 1945.