Bell, John Thomas

May 3, 1944 – October 24, 2017
at the age of 73 years

My dad noted, after his first week on blood thinners, that Bacardi had started to advertise on television.  He was convinced their drop in sales had something to do with the rise in sales in thinners!  He loved to make people laugh, his Jeep & his Bacardi.  His greatest pride was in providing for his family.
Born May 3, 1944 to a family of seven girls and two boys, he was raised on Galiano Isl. where he went to school and lived as a young man.
In 1967 he met mom.  After three short weeks he asked “Will you marry me?”  She asked “Will you teach me how to drive?”  He said Yes! And so did she!  The moved to Salmon Arm in ’71.
Dad worked heavy construction as an Excavator Operator throughout BC and AB.  Damns, pipelines and Hwys.  If you have ever seen an excavator teetering up off the side of a cliff, that would have been him!  During his construction years he made many memories and stories he could tell for hours, especially about those “Irish Boys.”  Dad’s “retirement” years were spent close to home working with Barry and Lavern Turner.
One of Dad’s proudest “digs” was in ’96 while working on the Duke Point Hwy expansion.  He found a fossil aged to be over 73 million years old.  This “rock” was taken to Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo and is still there today.
Dad was the great great great grandson of Joe Silvey, a whaler, better known as “Portuguese Joe”.  Joe was the first Portuguese in Canada to receive British Citizenship in the late 1800’s and opened a pub in “Gastown”.  On Brocton Point, a bronze sculpture dubbed “Shore to Shore” has been erected and sits near the site where Joe one had a home.  This site today is known as “Stanley Park”.
Predeceased by his son Bill in 2003.  John will live on through his loving wife and best friend of 50 years Betty, daughter Shannon (Gord) Kosolofski, daughter-in-law Cherie, granddaughter Lexie Bell, grandson Jon Bell, sisters Laura (Tom) Lowery, Athena Tchaikovsky, numerous nieces and nephews who knew they could get away with swearing when Uncle John was around!
Dad always made time to lend a hand or a tool.  Tell a story or share a joke.  His sense of humor was “drier than a popcorn fart” and his endless “one liners” were expected!  He loved leaning up against his Jeep contemplating life, talking to himself or his best friend Trevor.
In respect to his wishes, cremation has taken place.  The family extend their heartfelt thanks to Dr. Pullin, Dr. Azad, Dr. McKinnon, Dr. Weicker, the paramedics, emergency staff, 4th floor staff at SLGH and 6th South at RIH.  Much gratitude and respect to Community Nursing; because of your assistance he was able to stay at home until his last day.  This was so important to him and I know how much he appreciated you.  Dad died as he lived, peacefully and on his own terms.  He was a man of dignity and calm determination.
If you were lucky enough to receive a handshake from him, you could tell instantly what kind of man he was and it was something you wouldn’t forget.  Just like him.
R.I.P POP…”We’ll see ya then”.


  1. So sorry to hear of Uncle John’s passing, our prayers are with you. Love Helen and Ron and family

  2. Today when we picked up the SA News we were shocked to hear of your loss. OMG…. So near / and yet so far. We are sorry for your loss… we had no idea he was ill. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own ‘stuff’, we neglect those important to us… And for this we apologize. Shannon wrote THE BEST tribute I have ever read. It shows how she truly knew and loved her dad. Well done kiddo. My memories of John go way back to childhood ( on Galiano ) , my teen years ( in Merritt) and as an adult ( in Salmon Arm) He never wavered from the true blue guy he was/ what you see is what you got !! May your own warm memories help to comfort you now. Please let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do…. Stop by when you feel like it – ALWAYS welcome. Love and Huge hugs… Vickie and Jerry

  3. Betty and Shannon I think of you guys so often. My heart breaks for you. I know how excruciating it is to lose a Parent and watched first hand the pain that a spouse goes through. I am sorry but I personally can’t go on and tell you that it gets easier. People tell me that it does. I am sure that it does, I just think that everyone grieves differently and at their own time. So there is no right or wrong way. You just do what feels right for you. Lean on one another and the other people around you. He was an amazing man, I will never forget his funny teasing way. I always felt so comfortable at your house. I loved being there. You are all such wonderful accepting people. Keep him alive in your memories and on your hearts. The best advice that I can give is watch for the signs that he leaves for you. They may seem subtle, but they are there. I seen them everywhere when Mom and Gram passed. Dad was upset and asked me why he wasn’t getting any. I said “Oh you are, you just aren’t seeing them, you just have to look and keep an open mind”. Soon he was amazed by the things that started happening. We all were. I could write a book. It’s pretty amazing. Love you both so much. I’m here for you both – always. XOXO

  4. What a wonderful accurate tribute to your Dad Shannon. We feel blessed to have got to spend some time with John before he died and can attest to the dignity and determination and the dry sense of humour right to the end. His determination enabled him to be home with his love and best friend (your Mom) to the end with her unmatched care. RIP

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