Thank you for your patience in receiving information! 

Thank you for volunteering to help!  We have way more volunteers than we possibly needed, but we are truly grateful and really want to meet each and every one of you! If for some reason you are unable to sign up / RSVP but wish to come - PLEASE COME ANYWAY!

Weekend Schedule

Pot Luck Supper with the Belles Family - Friday July 14 - 6:00 pm - West Central Illinois Arts Center, 25 East Side Square, Macomb (between Pumo's Insurance and Project Dance Company) RSVP HERE - so they know how many tables and chairs they need.

Gil Belles Memorial Run: 5k Run and 1 Mile Walk - 8:00am to 10:00am - A fun fitness gathering to celebrate Gil's passion for fittness.  The starting location is on Adams Street between University Circle and Clay St.  There is a map posted on the Facebook Event Page.  Please sign up HERE.  The event is FREE.

Ice Cream Social Memorial - Western Illinois University - COFAC Recital Hall ,1 University Circle - Musical Prelude begins at 12:40 pm - Program 1:00 pm - Ice Cream Social immediately following.  Dress Code: SHORTS!

Click the Map Image to go to Google Maps...  But Google Maps won't have the parking lots marked.

Tri State Radio - will be interviewing guests during the Ice Cream Social.  Be sure to stop by to tell your favorite "Gil Story" for the record! 

Memorials:  There will be detailed information in the Ice Cream Social Memorial program about suggested recipients of Memorial Gifts Given in Gil's name.  I will also send a separate email with that information for your convenience.  Watch your inbox!

If you missed an email focused on a certain topic or joined the list late you can see any of the series of emails that went out by clicking on them HERE


The Memorial Event at COFAC Hall will be video recorded - for those of you that can not attend.  Here is a LINK to a playlist post on YouTube where you will be able to view the Celebration of Gil Belles' Life.   

The Belles Family will arrive in Macomb on Friday around noon.  We have a reservation at the Hampton Inn for two nights.  We have a few things to take care of while we are in town.  And for the most part we will be out and about.... Be sure to say "Hi" and introduce yourself if by chance we cross paths. On Sunday we will find a place to celebrate Suzee's 24th Birthday (one day late) before our journeys home.  Although the circumstances surrounding our visit are sad - we hope to have a good time and make new friends.  We really are looking forward to learning all about the "Gil" you all - knew so well..

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

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


From the Belles Family

As Plans Develop we wanted to check in - to let you all know about them.....


The WCI Arts Center has graciously volunteered to put together a pot luck event for our Friday night in Macomb.  Stay tuned we will be sending an official invite to everyone in a future email.

Chessie the cat is doing well - she is enjoying the windows at the home of Sean & Kathleen O'Donnell-Brown

Radio Station Interviews will be taking place in the days to come.  Watch for communication, many of you have been nominated!

Gil Belles Memorial Run - will take place on Saturday morning July 15 - details coming soon!  Get it in your calendar.  It will be a 5K run or 1 Mile Walk. Fitness was really important to Gil and he would want you to participate in it! We would welcome a sponsor for this event. We need Water, Snacks & a few bucks to make some participant t-shirts....  We are working with John Slater on this event!

What to wear to the Ice Cream Social?
Shorts of course!

That was Denise Elston's Idea!  But I want to add....  Do you know why Gil always wore shorts?  Haha - because he had nice legs of course!  And he never felt guilty for eating Ice Cream either!  We should all learn from this....   

Butter Brickle was found in Gil's freezer....  Speaking of Gil's freezer.....

Some of you might find it amusing to know that Gil bought tubs of ice cream and then ate right out of them....  Like his father - he would go to the freezer, get out the ice cream and sit down with a spoon. When he was done he would put the ice cream back in the freezer until next time.....  Did he ever offer you a serving during a visit?....  I bet he put your's in a dish....  Got a story?  Send it in, and we will share it out.

If you wish to contact us about something please reply to this email.

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 still people turning up that didn't know....

Sorry Gil - - we have a feeling this 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

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.