Tommy Bell

[10 JUL 1932 - D1 - 20560 - 14 AUG 2019]

Tommy Bell Eulogies

AOG Testimonials

Times Herald-Record Article

Tommy's Facebook Page

1953 Army - Duke Video

1954 Army - Yale Video



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Tommy Bell
[Coaches Housing Plaque - APR 2016]



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[May 2015]



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Tommy Bell
[JUL 2011]



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? - ? - Ordway - Bell
[c1999]



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Tommy Bell and Ski Ordway
[c1999]



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Jim Ryan - Eddins - Bell - Dienst - Bergen - Gottron - Tennant
Newton [Newton's Roundaway Farm - SEP 1997]



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Jim Ryan - Eddins - Bell - Dienst - Bergen - Gottron - Tennant
Newton [Newton's Roundaway Farm - SEP 1997]



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Ski Ordway - Tommy Bell and
Pat Uebel [1988]



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D-1 Firsties - 1st Row: Dienst - Jim Ryan - Eddins - Cooper - Bergen - Newton - Tebodo (CO) - Lathrop - 2nd Row: Tennant - Shaffer - Pirtle - 3rd Row: Bill Parks - Grubbs - Bliss - 4th Row: Gottron - Zaborowski - Trawick - 5th Row: Price - Bell



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[1954 Army Football Team]



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[1953 Army Football Team]

4th row: 64 Shannon - 38 Chance - 84 Holleder - 68 Herdman - 85 Ordway - 74 Sullivan - 70 MeInick - 71 Glock - 10 Vann. 3rd row: Greer (Asst Mgr) - 81 Doremus - 63 Chesnauskas - 34 Uebel - 12 Mericle - 16 Hagan - 54 Lasley - 55 Farris - 33 Burd - Meador (Mgr). 2nd row: 46 Bell - 58 Zaborowski - 31 Wing - 11 Cody - 25 Wynn - 22 Zeigler - 65 Franklin - 37 Knierem - 66 Bruno. 1st row: 82 Lapchick - 62 Ziegler - 79 Krause - 83 Sisson - 60 Lunn (captain) - 87 Mischak - 52 Kramer - 30 Cockrell - 48 Attaya - 24 Schweikert



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AF Officer - Dienst - Bell - Gottron
[Eglin AFB - 1953]



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Tommy Bell and Ted Perritt x55
[DEC 1951]



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2015 AOG Online Register
(Updated JUL 2019)

Thomas J. Bell Cullum No: 20560 Class of: 1955 Born: NY Appointment: ID Branch: AF History: 20560 Thomas James Bell B-NY: A-ID: AF: Ret dsbl 61 1LT: DistSlsMgr Stanley Air Tools 69: VP Sls Ridemco Inc 75: MBA XavierU 73: SlsRep Fluid Sls 84: InsAsst Banker Life & Casualty 03

Register Glossary


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Forgotten Army great relives football days


Historic rusher not yet in Army Hall of Fame

Tommy Bell was Army's first 1,000-yard rusher but isn't as well known as Heisman winners Glenn Davis, 'Doc' Blanchard or Pete Dawkins. on the field in Michie Stadium at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Bell CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

Tommy Bell was Army's first 1,000-yard rusher but isn't as well known as Heisman winners Glenn Davis, 'Doc' Blanchard or Pete Dawkins. on the field in Michie Stadium at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Bell CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

Bell's Army rankings

Yards rushing (season): 1,020, 12th

Yards rushing (career): 1,754, 13th

Yards per carry (career): 6.7, third.

Yards per carry (season): 10.5, 1954, third

Rushing touchdowns (season) 12, 1954, eighth

100-yard rushing games (season) 6, 1954, 14th

By Sal Interdonato

Posted Jul. 17, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Tommy Bell walks his dog, Annie, every morning in Westchester, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati.

Every morning, West Point is the first thought on Bell's mind, 56 years after his graduation.

Bell loved West Point. He loved being a cadet. Most of all, Bell loved playing Army football. He was a kid from the Bronx, following in the footsteps of his heroes, Heisman Trophy winners Glenn Davis and Felix 'Doc' Blanchard.

Nicknamed 'The Locomotive,' Bell, who played at 195 pounds, ran over and through defenders. Once Bell got his legs going, he was difficult to bring down. Bell became famous for taking Army's opening handoff and breaking off big gains, like a 61-yard jolt against Yale in 1954. Defenses knew Bell was getting the ball and they couldn't stop him.

'I just loved contact,' said Bell, 79, as he walked West Point's Michie Stadium last week. 'I didn't have great speed. But I had quickness."

Bell's memory was jogged last week as he made his first trip back to West Point in 12 years with 11 family members, including his wife, Betty, sons Bob and Mike and five grandchildren.

Bell recounted how Army legendary coach Earl 'Red' Blaik asked him to go home his plebe year, return to West Point in 1951 and help led a team, which lost 37 players after a cheating scandal. He talked about playing for a demanding young running backs coach named Vince Lombardi. 'It was always 120 percent,' Bell said.

Bell spoke little of his accomplishments on the field.

Bell's name can get lost in Army football history. He played in an era between Davis and Blanchard and 1958 Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.

Poll any die-hard college football fan and ask, 'Who had the first 1,000-yard rushing season in academy history?' The answers would likely be Davis, Blanchard or Dawkins.

Wrong.

It was Tommy Bell in 1954.

Bell rushed for 1,020 yards, third in country behind Arizona's Art Luppino and Penn State's Lenny Moore. Maybe the most incredible stat is Bell's 96 carries that season. Bell is one of only two in Army history to average more than 10 yards per carry (10.6) in a season. Davis averaged 11.5 in 1944 and 1945.

'He didn't get the recognition that he deserved,' said teammate Bill Cody, a reserve quarterback on the 1954 team. 'He didn't know anything but trying and trying hard. He believed the coach knew what was right. He was always a little unsure of where he stood with the coaches. His teammates knew he was a great football player."

So did the country: Bell was named a 1954 all-American back.

Bell's next honor? Hopefully, election into the Army Sports Hall of Fame.

'You look at all of his stats and read through them, it's hard to believe that he doesn't belong there,' said Joe Franklin, Bell's teammate and former Commandant of Cadets at West Point.

Bob Bell created a Facebook page, 'Tommy Bell 1954 Army Halfback All America,' calling his father, 'the forgotten all-American."

'This is my quest for my dad to get recognized in the Army Hall of Fame,' Bob Bell said.

Bob Beretta, Army's senior associate athletic director and chairman of Hall of Fame selection committee, said Bell's name has been on the ballot the last few years. The Hall of Fame strives to keep a balance in sport, ethnicity, gender and era in its members, Beretta said.

'He's a strong candidate and will get strong consideration,' Beretta said. 'Ultimately, those deserving get in. He's deserving, and eventually he'll get in."

Army's 2011 Hall of Fame class has been picked. Bell understands his son's urgency, but he remains as modest as his playing days.

'It doesn't matter to me,' Tommy Bell said. I know what I did and I'm happy with that ... I'm happy to have been here. I loved the game. West Point was the best place for me."

Bell and his family enjoyed a tour of West Point's athletic facilities on their visit. The tour guide was Col. Sam Johnson, West Point's Chief of Staff. Johnson's father, Charlie, graduated in Bell's 1955 class.

Bell's grandchildren received Army footballs and Johnson asked Bell to autograph three footballs, one which may be placed in the Sports Hall of Fame.

'You made my day,' Bell told Johnson. 'I haven't done this in a long time."

For one day, Bell had a moment back at West Point. Another big day could be in his future.

Sal Interdonato
sinterdonato@th-record.com
17 July 2011


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USMA Class of 1955 Housing Area

Kelly Lichtenberg
[JUN 2008]


The USMA Coaches Housing Project, sponsored by the Class of 1955, under the guidance of Herb (Kelly) Lichtenberg, is completed and the seventeen houses are occupied by ODIA Corps Squad Head Coaches. The entire Housing Area is prominently identified by the Brass Plaque on the huge boulder at the entrance, which reflects 'USMA Class of 1955'.

Upon the completion of the first eight houses, Kelly 'named' each by placing a small placard with the name of an individual on the lawn in front of the house. It was his plan to continue this practice as the remaining houses were completed. When we lost Kelly, Lou Gross, class of 1954, replaced Kelly and continued the project to its completion. Three additional names were added by Lou Gross, leaving six without the placard.

A few weeks ago, Lou contacted me and asked that I provide six names for the, to date, unnamed houses. I tasked a past president of the class to organize a committee and provide six recommended names. After a very thorough and detailed process, six names were recommended, and the Class EXCOM voted to accept the recommendations. The names were provided to Lou Gross, and they will be included on the placards.

The next, and final, item to be accomplished with this project is to organize and schedule a formal presentation of this Class gift to West Point. Lou Gross and I are in the process of coordinating this with the appropriate authorities. Stay tuned, folks, for this glorious event.

Names on Placards Selected by Kelly

*MG Philip Draper, given by his daughter, Linda Draper Newton
* Walter Kaye, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army
* Maggie Dixon
* West Point Class of 1955 (To be replaced with a Committee selected name)
* Carl Goldstein
* Marty Silverman, Friend of West Point
* Lewis Zickel, West Point Class of 1949
* Rod Vitty, West Point Class of 1955
* Carl McNair, West Point Class Of 1955

Names added by Lou Gross

* Pete Fikaris
* Charlie Johnson
* Dave Wheeler

Names selected by Committee

* Tom Bell
* Dave Burroughs
* Tom McCarthy
* Donne Olvey
* Bob Strati
* Fred Woerner

Charlie Johnson
26 September 2014


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Thomas James "Tommy" Bell

Thomas James "Tommy" Bell of West Chester, Oh - Passed on August 14 th peacefully at the age of 87 and is survived by his loving wife Becky Bell and his four Children, Bob Bell wife Jonelle, Tommy Bell wife Jina, Michael Bell wife Gina and his daughter Erin Bell England husband Wes. Tom and Becky are blessed with 10 wonderful grandchildren. Tom was preceded in death by his sister Maureen Bell Dowd, and his parents Thomas Joseph and Mary McGarrigle Bell.

Tom or Tommy to others was born in the Bronx, NY and his immigrant parents were naturalized citizens from Belfast, Ireland. A natural athlete, Tommy attended Mount St. Michaels High School in the Bronx and was recruited by the legendary coach, Vince Lombardi to attend the (USMA) West Point to play football under the famous head coach Earl H. "Red" Blaik. Tommy went on to become the 1st player in Army Football history to rush for over 1000 yards his Senior or First Year in 1954. He was selected as a Look Magazine "All America" along with many fine players of the day.

Tommy graduated from the Academy in 1955 and went into the Airforce where he flew multi engine transports. After 5 years He left the Airforce due to a very serious car accident and settled into civilian life where he eventually met the love of his life Rebecca Anne Coombs. Tom and Becky were married over 58 years.

He enjoyed a career in sales with prestigious companies like Stanley and Ingersoll-Rand.

A Funeral Mass will be held in his honor at St. Gertrude’s in Madeira, Ohio on September 7 th at 9:00 AM, all are welcome. Tommy will be interred at West Point in early November of this year, details to be forthcoming.


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Tommy Bell Biography

Thomas James or “Tommy” Bell to most was born in the Bronx, NY to Irish immigrant parents who excitedly became naturalized citizens from Belfast, Ireland. A natural athlete, Tommy attended Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx where he had an amazing high school football career in the New York Catholic High School Athletic Association and was recruited by the legendary coach, Vince Lombardi to attend (the USMA) West Point to play football in the Fall of 1950 under the famous head coach Colonel, Earl H. “Red” Blaik.

In the Spring of 1951 a huge cheating scandal occurred that lead to over thirty key players being expelled from not only the football team but West Point as well. This dishonor left the Black Knights decimated and nearly lead to coach Blaik’s personal resignation. That same Spring Tommy had failed calculus and was called into coach Blaiks office. Fearful over the repercussion of his pending expulsion, coach Blaik instead asked Tommy to come back and repeat his Plebe year to help rebuild the honor and prestige of Army Football.

(In a mere two season in 1953 Red Blaik pulled off the impossible. With the help of Tommy and his other teammates, they would bring back the prominence of Army football with an upset over nationally ranked Duke and beating the Naval Academy to finish the season with a record of 7-1-1. To cap off the miraculous season they also won the Lambert Trophy, established in 1936 that recognized college football supremacy in the Eastern part of the United States).

Tommy took full advantage of his second chance by working hard in all phases of his life at West Point. He ended up being a rare 4 year letterman. Tommy eventually went on to become the 1st player in Army Football history to rush for over 1000 yards in his “First Year” in the Fall of 1954. He was selected as a Look Magazine “All America” along with many other fine players of the day.

Tommy graduated from the Academy in 1955 and went into the Air Force when USMA graduates could select their commitment to the Air Force or the Army upon graduation. Tommy got his wings in a B-25 and then went on to fly multi engine transports for 5 years until an untimely car accident ended his military career. Tommy was very grateful and loved his years at West Point and is interred on post at the USMA cemetery with many of his classmates and his beloved and highly respected coach, Red Blaik.

Bob Bell
15 November 2019
Mobile: 513-591-8409
eMail: bsucard84@yahoo.com
LinkedIn Address: www.linkedin.com/in/robertjbell/


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