A Family Funeral Home

Timothy "Tim" R. Bell

January 8, 1942 - October 18, 2017
Racine, WI



Friday, October 27, 2017
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM CDT
Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home
Racine Location
803 Main St.
Racine, WI 53403
(262) 634-7888
Driving Directions


Saturday, October 28, 2017
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM CDT
Preservation Hall Racine
740 Lake Avenue
Racine, WI 53403


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

To the family for a Scholarship to be set up in Tim's name.

Life Story / Obituary


All who knew Timothy R. Bell would agree that he was the heartbeat of wherever he went. He was vibrant with a contagious zest for life and a smile ready for anyone who was near. Although Tim accomplished so much of which to be proud, he was a humble man who used his gifts and talents to bless those around him.

He had a huge heart full of love for family, his students, and fellow musicians. How can you express the love of a parent for his children? Steph and Steve came with Tim to Parkside and Steph says they hid in the instrument cabinets and threw spitballs at the band while they rehearsed.

Tim spent many Packers games with Steph, eating popcorn and pretzels and rooting for Texas when the Packers played the Cowboys. Tim was thrilled when grandsons Michael and Teddy were born and both boys loved “Uncle Tim” deeply. Tim and his son Steve worked together helping, understanding, and supporting each other.

Tim was born on January 8, 1942 to Josephine (Greskiewicz) and Timothy Ralph Bell in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He has three siblings, Richard, Patsy, and Joe. Tim proudly stated “My father was a coal miner.” Dad was also an extraordinary musician, proficient on the accordion, and also playing the saxophone, clarinet, violin and piano. The kids played their instruments together at home in the living room. Tim got his first clarinet at age 8 for Christmas. His mother raised the family and did piece work as a seamstress. While he was still in grade school, Tim played in the Wyoming High School Band and graduated in 1959. When he was a kid he went on jobs with his dad and on Halloween while his siblings would collect nickels and pennies Tim played his saxophone at the local taverns and brought home a wad of bills.

While in high school, Tim worked as a gas station attendant and contributed the money to the family household. Tim joined the U.S. Navy at 17 and served from 1960 to 1963, as a member of the Navy Band. After the Navy, Tim enrolled at the University of North Texas. He played clarinet in the band and orchestra, and became the first freshman to win a chair in Leon Breedon’s renowned One O'clock Lab Band. As lead alto saxophonist in the band, he performed on three occasions for President Lyndon Johnson at the White House with Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton. Tim also spent a month performing in Mexico on a tour that was sponsored by the United States State Department. His peers at North Texas included Billy Harper, Marvin Stamm, Ed Soph, Louis Marini, and Lyle Mays.

Tim began his teaching career at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. From 1975 through 2010 Tim was a music professor at U.W. Parkside. He taught applied clarinet, applied saxophone, conducted the jazz ensembles and jazz combo, and also taught courses in music education, improvisation, and jazz appreciation. He was the founder of the Jazz Studies Music degree option, and he received the 1979 UW-Parkside Stella Gray Teaching Award and a University of Wisconsin Regents Award for teaching excellence in 1993. Under Tim’s direction, his bands earned several awards at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festivals and were featured at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association Conference in Madison. Tim was highly regarded as a soloist, clinician, and adjudicator at the state and national level. He brought renowned artists and educators Leon Breeden, Jamey Aebersold, Maynard Ferguson, Frank Mantooth, Steve Houghton, Fred Sturm, Alan Vizutti, Ed Shaughnessy, Lou Fischer, Ed Soph, Neil Slater and the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band to UW-Parkside.

In addition to his teaching, Tim played throughout the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. Tim was a frequent performer with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Skylight Opera Theater, the Fireside Theater, touring Broadway shows at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee and with entertainment headliners including Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Stan Kenton, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Rita Moreno, Tom Jones, Jerry Lewis, Tom Bosley, Toni Tennille, Sonny and Cher…. Since 2009, Tim could be heard on Saturday nights on the local radio hosting his own jazz show “Big Bands and Beyond.” Tim truly loved to play. His last night was also his last concert, as he played Principal Clarinet with the Racine Concert Band. After retiring, Tim continued to play with the Kenosha City Band, Racine Concert Band, Parkside Reunion Band and the Milwaukee Super Band.

Described as an absolute gem of a person, Timothy R. Bell was a blessing to everyone he met. He was known for his sense of humor and his many pranks in addition with his kind and gentle demeanor. Tim was well respected in many different facets of the music world both at home and within other areas of the country. His legacy is “Excellence not Dominance”, “Intensity”, “Perfection in Performance”, “Extreme Joy and Appreciation of Loved Ones” …

Tim lived from January 8, 1942 to October 18, 2017. His spirit will always live. Tim’s family includes his wife, Gerry; his children; Stephanie “Stacee” (Joe) Busateri, Steve T. Bell; grandchildren; Michael and Teddy Busateri; stepsons, Jack (Kymarie) Kosmoski, Ben Kosmoski; step grandson, Oliver; siblings, Richard (Elaine) Bell, Patricia Walters, Joseph Bell; in-laws, Marty Slavek, Chaz (Mary) Slavek, George Slavek; nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives,

many dear friends, and his dogs especially Miles.

"Good Job Chief!”