April 5, 1938 – May 12, 2015. James “Jim” Bell, 77, passed away peacefully surrounded by family. He was born in Buffalo, New York to the late Bernard J. Bell and Margaret Zink Bell.
Jim graduated from Lancaster High School in 1956, triple lettering in baseball, basketball and football. As quarterback, he still holds the school record for longest pass. He earned a degree in Economics from the University of Florida. Upon graduating, he moved to Orchard Park, NY and joined Bache & Co. as a stockbroker. It was during this time he was asked to chair the Junior Golf Invitational Tournament of the East Aurora Country Club. Under his leadership the tournament expanded from a regional draw to include junior golfers from around the globe and is known today as The International Junior Masters.
In 1978 he joined Arnold Palmer Enterprises as the Tournament Director of The Bay Hill Invitational, piloting this high-profile PGA tour stop since it’s inception for 27 years. He was also founding Tournament Director for the PaineWebber Invitational in Charlotte, NC (10 years) and the Chrysler Cup in Washington, DC (4 years). Jim served as president of the American Golf Sponsors and as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Junior Golf Association.
A sports enthusiast, he enjoyed time playing golf with friends, watching all sports, especially his grandsons’ events, and following the Florida Gators and Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis. As a devoted family man and friend, he will be missed by all who knew him.
He was preceded in death by Barbara, his sister. He is survived by his wife, J. Gail McCutcheon Bell and his children Susan Duvenhage (Ian) of Nashville, TN; Darci Hand Pool (Hap) of Vail, CO; Melinda Jay Bell of Orlando, FL and James “Jimmy” Bell, Jr. of Orlando, FL. He is also survived by grandsons Nicholas and Michael Hand, his sister Belinda Kimmick and niece Kristin Kimmick.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to: The Jim Bell Memorial ACE Grant, c/o American Junior Golf Association at 1980 Sports Club Drive, Braselton, GA 30517 (www.ajga.org/donations/jimbell); Orlando Health Foundation at 3160 Southgate Commerce Blvd., Suite 50, Orlando, FL 32806 or Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation at 12902 Magnolia Drive, MBC Found, Tampa, FL 33612. Arrangements for a memorial celebration are pending.