Lt. Col. (Ret.) John Michael "Taco" Bell, 56, passed away Jan. 3, 2013 in Mountain Home, ID.
Mike was born on Jan. 18, 1956 to Ed and Betty Bell in Louisville, KY. He attended grade school at St. Pius Elementary School and graduated from St. Xavier High School. Mike joined the Kentucky National Guard in 1979 where he began his distinguished career as a pilot for the U.S. Air Force while earning his MBA from Golden Gate University. He amassed over 6,000 hours of flight time, which includes 600 hours of combat time. Mike always said he was "Getting paid to have fun" while he flew the RF-4C Phantom II and the F4-G Wild Weasel fighter jets. During his 33 years of active military service, he became one of the first commanding officers for the C-130 Hercules Squadron as well as a Flight Instructor. He was honored with many prestigious awards and medals.
Mike had a contagious sense of humor and it was humbling to be in his presence. Kindness, loyalty, determination, goodwill, and generosity were foundations of his positive outlook on life. He was a man of his word and spoke with sincerity about the beauty in every sunrise, blessed every day to enjoy "God's free show." He explored it by camping, fishing, and four-wheeling with his children and friends.
Mike was preceded in death by his mother and father and is survived by his three children with Lisa Parsons Bisbee (Steve): John, Jason, and Heather; brothers, Tom Bell (Jill) and Ed Bell (Carolyn); sister, Theresa Rogers (George); three nieces, five nephews; and companion Sally Guaspari.
A viewing for family and friends will be held from 4-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10th at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, 112 N. 9th St., Payette. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Jan. 11th at the First United Methodist Church, 502 N. 11th St., Payette. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery, Payette. Services are under the direction of Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, Payette.
Memorials may be made to the Boise VA Voluntary Service, c/o Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, P.O. Box 730, Payette, ID 83661. Condolences may be made to Mike's family at www.shaffer-jensenchapel.com.