Wayne P. Bell passed away on December 21, 2016 surrounded by his loving family. The cruel disease of Alzheimer’s took him a little at a time over the past few years and hit with a quick vengeance in the last few months. Wayne was born in Billings on December 18, 1942 to Gladys and Philip Bell.
Wayne graduated from Billings Senior High in 1961 and went on to the University of Montana where he played football for the Montana Grizzlies. He had many great memories and stories from his college days.
Wayne was involved in a variety of sports his entire life and excelled at all of them. He played in two World Series baseball tournaments; first with his little league team and later as a catcher for Dave McNally with his Legion team. Their team missed winning the National Championship by one inning! Wayne was so honored to have been inducted into the American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Wayne was also a Golden Gloves boxer and in 1958 went to Chicago where he boxed in the same tournament as Cassius Clay. He even smoked a cigar with Cassius at the ripe age of 15! He was honored with the Most Outstanding Boxer award in 1959. He also had boxes of trophies from his days racing cars at the Belaro Speedway.
He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He fished every opportunity he had and fished hard. He was happiest in his boat on the Yellowstone River or the many lakes around Montana.
Wayne started his career in construction framing houses for Vic Redinger. He eventually started his own business Bell Construction. He went on to become a realtor and sold houses for Best Realty.
Wayne and Rayetta were married in 1979 and had three daughters Heather, Tawnia, and Sabrina, who he lovingly referred to as “Headow,” “Punkin,” and “Boog” respectively. His pride and joy were his kids and grandkids, and his life revolved around them. He loved his family with every fiber of his being. Wayne was one of those “bigger than life” people. He was “The Boss” and everyone knew it. He loved hard, worked hard, played hard, and fought hard. He never did anything half-way.
He is survived by his wife, Rayetta, his daughter Heather Morgan (Kevin) of Belgrade, and their three daughters, Ashley, Kaitlyn, and Hailey. His daughter, Tawnia Bell (Nick Miller) of Bozeman. His daughter Sabrina Noon (Jesse) of Fergus Falls, MN and their children Ava, Landon, and Dawson. His sisters Linda Plovanic, MaryAnn Harper, Phyliss Bell, and brother Lee (Susie) Bell and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother Gladys and father Philip and many loved ones who are greeting him on the other side. We love you Wayne, Papa, Papa Fishy, Papa Fishing Pole!! We ask that if you have any Grizzly apparel, please wear it to the memorial service- he loved his Grizzlies!
There will be visitation Tuesday, December 27 from 4-8 pm at the Cremation and Funeral Gallery. Memorial services will be held at 11 am Wednesday, December 28 at the First United Methodist Church in Billings.
A special thanks to Joyce at Senior Independence Home Health and Hospice.