James Martin Bell was born in Kermit, Texas to VW (Pete) and Jeanette Martin Bell. Jim graduated Crosbyton High School in Crosbyton, Texas in 1967. Jim was an Art Major at West Texas State University and graduated Texas Tech University with a degree in Information Systems. Jim was athletic and excelled in Baseball, Tennis and Table Tennis, and in fact lettered in Tennis in high school. As this was the first time the high school had a tennis team, there were no lettermen jackets to give out so Jim infamously wore a women’s letter sweater! Jim grew up spending idyllic summers at his grandparent’s farm in Seymour, Texas where he and his cousins explored and hunted. He was a loyal Camaro owner and had a passion for motorcycles. Throughout his life, he owned several bikes which he loved to ride and race. His house always had a cat or two, his most recent kitty, Waco, always by his side. Jim had a wicked wit and he will long be remembered for his sense of fun and humor.
Jim’s life of recovery started in Alcoholics Anonymous in 1977 but when he heard the message of Narcotics Anonymous in 1980 that “an addict, any addict, could stop using, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live” he understood the value and helped others hear that as well. He became a willing servant to help this fledgling group develop into a significant resource for others struggling with addiction and maintained his own recovery in this fellowship for 44 years. His wit and wisdom will be sorely missed in the rooms of recovery.
Jim succumbed to complications from Multiple Sclerosis on February 28, 2021. Carol, his former marriage partner of 10 years, summed it up well: “MS took his strength but never his spirit.” Jim is survived by Jane Thomas, sister, and husband Greg Thomas; Erin Combs and her daughter, Ilaria, niece and great niece; Carol Allen and her son Ross Cox. Jim would wish for any memorial donations to be sent to any animal rescue shelter or the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
There will be a celebration of Jim’s life and recovery at the Here and Now NA Group in Lubbock, Texas on May 7. The family will also hold a Celebration of Life Memorial later in the summer for friends and family.
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