Billy Eugene “Bill” Bell was born Aug. 2, 1954, in Wessington Springs, S.D., to Billy and Josephine (Kearton) Bell.
He married Debra Grieve Nov 13, 1981. They moved to Custer, S.D., in 1983. They had three children: Shawn Bell of Newcastle, Wyo., Travis Bell of Custer and Manda (Bryan) Buck of Woonsocket.
Bill worked for many years at Linde Sawmill as the head sawyer. After Linde’s closed, he went to work for Sander Sanitation Service, Inc. as a mechanic.
His greatest passion during his life was fighting fire. He joined the Custer Volunteer Fire Department in 1988. He truly enjoyed working with the community and with his fellow firefighters throughout his 31 years in the fire service. In state or out of state, where-ever he was needed, he was there.
In March of 2012 he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He fought a long hard battle and thought he had kicked it, but in January of this year it flared up again with a vengeance, “like a wildfire on a windy day.”
Bill died March 18, 2019. He was 64.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Randy; aunts and uncles; and one niece and one nephew.
Bill is survived by his wife of 37 years, Deb; his children, Shawn, Travis and Manda; sister, Linda (Maxon) Conkey of St. Lawrence, S.D.; brother, Keith (Trina) Bell of Huron, S.D; eight grandchildren, Zachary, Noah, Brookelynn, Tieghan, Paislei, Kaydn, Michael and Alaina; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives.
A celebration of life will be held May 11 at Custer VFW from noon to 4 p.m.