Remembering Gil Belles

Celebration of Life

and Ice Cream Social 

will be held on Saturday July 15, 2017 from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM

at the COFAC Recital Hall Western Illinois University.

Here are directions and parking information for COFAC Recital Hall

Remembering Gil Belles - further information from the Belles Family

Rob and Lynn Belles (Rob is Gil's nephew) will use their business bulk email service to notify you of plans and information about a future Gil Belles memorial event and other things we think you may be interested in.  In order to make sure that these notifications do not land in your junk or spam folder please add "" to your email contact list.  

It is particularly difficult for us to disseminate information, because of Gil's deep involvement in so many things, with so many people whom we do not know.  If you know someone who would want to be informed please ask them to fill out this Google Form - to join this mailing list.  The url for the form can be shared publicly and we welcome you to do so.  Social Media and email campaigns are a great place to share....  There are a few old friends that the family is still looking for.


Gil's Cat Chessie has been re-homed.  She has all of her familiar belongings with her.  She has been placed on a trial basis to make sure the new home is a good fit.

Gil's Facebook page has been memorialized.  This means that it can no longer accept new friend requests. If you were his Facebook friend you will remain so forever.  The memorial page will remain there and you can visit as often as you like to browse your fondest memories.

Gil left direction to donate his body to science.  Unfortunately because of the nature of the accident that claimed his life this was not possible.  His body has been cremated.

At Gil's direction there is to be NO FUNERAL!  An informal gathering of friends is permissible - so that is what we intend to do.  We are putting together an Ice Cream Social Event that will be held in Macomb some time around Gil's Birthday, which is in early July. We will announce the date as soon as we can! We anticipate that WIU will help us with a location - as we expect a high turnout..  

Sorry Gil - - we have a feeling the event will not be "small".....

The Belles Family - Barb - Julia - Rob - Lynn - Amy - Zack - Suzee

Rob and Lynn Belles
2905 Creekside Ct.
Rockford, IL 61114

Obit from Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home

Gil Belles

July 06, 1940 - May 25, 2017


Macomb-Gil Belles, 76, of Macomb, passed away at 11:02 AM Thursday May 25, 2017.


Cremation has been accorded. Memorial Services will be announced at a later date. Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

WIU Mourns Passing of RPTA Professor Emeritus Gil Belles

May 25, 2017

MACOMB, IL ‐‐ Gil Belles, professor emeritus of Western Illinois University's recreation, park and administration (RPTA) department, was killed in a vehicle accident this morning (May 25) in Macomb. Arrangements are pending at Dodsworth‐Piper‐Wallen Funeral Home.


"The Western Illinois University community mourns Gil's tragic death," said President Jack Thomas. "He was a wonderful man, and will be missed. We send our deepest condolences to Gil's many friends, his family and to the members of his WIU family."


Belles arrived at Western in 1968 to teach history. While he was in that department he helped create a Black Studies Area and then chaired the department of African American studies. In 1985, Belles "retrained," earning another degree, and began teaching in the department of recreation, park and tourism administration (RPTA). He taught in RPTA, creating courses for the tourism component of the curriculum, until his retirement in 1996. Along the way, he chaired the Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards (CAGAS) for three separate terms. He was the recipient of the College of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Outstanding Teaching Award, five WIU Faculty Excellence Awards and a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Wittenberg University, to name a few.


During his tenure, he was actively involved in such campus activities as Open Door and the President's Task Force to End Homophobia, and continued to be involved in numerous community and civic organizations including the Performing Arts Society, YMCA of McDonough County, Tri‐States Public Radio and Tri‐States Audio Information Services, the Western Illinois Museum, Meals on Wheels, McDonough County Historical Society and the Macomb Public Library. "


Gil took his roles as a faculty member and community member in a manner that we should all try to emulate. He was always attending events on campus and in the community, and he was a great representative of Western," said Brad Bainter, vice president for advancement and public services and executive officer of the WIU Foundation. "Not only did he support areas in the community, like the hospital and the Y, he has also given approximately $600,000 to Western that will forever keep his spirit alive at this University that he loved so much. He was a great friend through good times and bad. I know that I will miss his presence and support."


In 2009, the College of Fine Arts and Communication recognized Belles with the "Distinguished Friend of the College Award." Belles is a past board member for the Performing Arts Society and was instrumental in leading the effort to renovate the COFAC Recital Hall Green Room. The PAS named the Green Room in Belles' honor. In addition, he supported many Alumni Programs functions and was instrumental in coordinating the annual Homecoming run/walk.


Belles delivered the inaugural Jackie Thompson Wellness Lecture, "The Importance of Wellness in Your Life," in October 2011. An advocate of health and wellness, Belles could often be found at WIU's Student Recreation Center and the McDonough County YMCA.


In his earlier years, he served as the swimming coach for the YMCA, the high school and the WIU Water Polo team, which won the NAIA national championship in 1969. He created the first WIU TinMan Triathlon in 1980 and served as the event's director through 1985.


He was recently inducted into the WIU Phi Kappa Phi chapter, and was featured in a 2016 episode of the PBS program "Illinois Stories." The program focused on public art on Western Illinois University's Macomb campus, and featured Belles, who started a project to add signage to the public art at WIU (and in Macomb) in order to give credit to the artists. In Spring 2016, Belles co‐coordinated an extreme triathlon at Macomb's Spring Lake. He also was an active participant in the annual Senior Olympics held at WIU.


Posted By: WIU News, University Relations Phone: (309) 298‐1993 * Fax: (309) 298‐1606

Since 1969, the McDonough County Historical Society, a not-for-profit organization, has been an important force for promoting historical understanding and preserving materials that reflect the county's heritage.

What does the Society do?

Please donate to the Cemetery Improvement Project


The McDonough County Historical Society is calling on all residents who wish to improve, protect, and beautify

McDonough County cemeteries.

Donations may be sent to:

McDonough County Historical Society

PO Box 83

Macomb, IL 61455.


Please identify your donation for the “Cemetery Project.”

All donations to the Society, a 501.c.3

non-profit organization, are tax deductible.

Any donation over $100 will entitle the donor

to a one-year membership in the Society.