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JAMES R. BELL SR., AVID BASEBALL FAN

James "Jimmy" R. Bell Sr., 59, of Buffalo, died Wednesday (May 14, 2003) at home after a brief illness.

One of the memorable moments in the life of this avid baseball fan came when the Buffalo Bisons engraved his name on a seat at War Memorial Stadium.

"Take a look at that seat -- it's mine, and you know it's mine because my name's on it," Bell would often laugh to friends and fans at the stadium known as the Old Rockpile. He was a season ticket holder with the team for nearly two decades.

"Jimmy loved baseball, and he loved people," said his wife, the former Mary Ellen Derwin. "He was a character. He always made you smile."

"Jimmy didn't just go to a game to watch it; he went there to talk to people and have a good time," added his brother, Joseph "Buddy" Bell of Buffalo.

Bell grew up on Milton Street in the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood of South Buffalo. He lived near School 26, which he attended, and also frequented a little neighborhood delicatessen called Slim's.

""My parents would have a party and send Jimmy over to Slim's to buy food and drinks," said his sister Marianne Pierrot of Holland. "Well, the party would be starting and no Jimmy. They would send me to the store to get him. Jimmy would be there talking to everybody in the store. He was having his own party."

Bell, who served in the Marine Corps and worked for the City of Buffalo, would go out of his way to help others, said his close friend John Keller. "Jimmy was one of the guys who would give you his last buck if you needed it," he said. "That's why everybody liked him."

He also was a boxing fan. He grew up in the same neighborhood as Dennis "Rocky" Cudney, a former professional boxer.

Bell also is survived by another sister, Joanne Eschberger of Hamburg; a daughter, Marie Bizub of Orchard Park; and three sons, James R. Jr., Brenden M. and Rory, all of Buffalo.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in St. Rita/St. Patrick's Church, 938 E. Eagle St., preceded by services at 8:45 in Joseph K. Quinn Funeral Home, 192 Abbott Road. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

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