In Memoriam

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James W. Bell ’66

James William Bell Jr. ’66, September 7, 2002, of a heart attack, in Toronto, Canada. Jamie received a BA in chemistry and began a variety of jobs that included work as a jewelry maker, farm hand, lab assistant, coal handler, and gardener. He spent two months in 1967 as head of the English department at Pentwater High School in Michigan, followed by his marriage to Mary Nelson, relocation to Canada, and the birth of their daughter in 1969. At the University of British Columbia he studied biochemistry for two years before leaving academia for a position at the Detroit Science Center, Michigan, where he created the Storefront Science Museum and Development Workshop. Following a divorce from Mary, he moved to Ontario and joined the staff of the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, where he staged numerous exhibitions for 16 years, including the First World Crafts Exhibition in 1974. Jamie then worked as an exhibition consultant for many associations, including the Smithsonian Institution National Geographic Park. In 1980 he married Ruth Stirtzinger and they had two sons. Community involvement was central to his life, and he expressed it in a vibrant, passionate format. At the end of his life, he was considered to be the pulse of the Bloor West Village area, especially the Swansea community, where he was manager of the Swansea Town Hall Community Centre. Bell organized and rallied support for the creation of the High Park Adventure Playground—considered one of his greatest achievements. He was a well respected, "irreplaceable," energetic individual, and a master of the pun, who was able to bring together, and communicate comfortably with, a full range of individuals. He is survived by his daughter and sons, three brothers, a stepmother, and an aunt.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 2003

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