Vegas Limo Operator Jim Bell Dies

Posted on May 8, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

LAS VEGAS, NV -- Jim Bell moved to Las Vegas from Montana in 1967 to join his uncle's Whittlesea Taxi Service.

And it wasn't long before he went on to create Las Vegas's first two limousine companies.

Jim Bell died Wednesday at age 70.

He was never too much the front-office executive to mind getting a little dirty.

His son, Brent Bell, recalled that he would wait in the front yard every Friday night for his dad, who sometimes arrived late, covered in grease. "He would have changed clothes after a full day at the office and put his grubby overalls on, to help the mechanics fix the vehicles" so the company had enough to get through the weekend, the younger Bell said.

By the time Jim Bell retired 11 years ago, his company, known as Bell Trans and which had grown to include mini-buses and a Strip trolley service in addition to taxis and limousines, had become what his family says was the largest single-city limousine company in the nation.

"He helped turn a gambling stop in the desert into a city that could have as much class as New York City and that takes a back seat to no one," said Bill Shranko, who worked for Bell for 13 years and who is now chief operating officer of Yellow Checker Star cab company. "He was quite the legend in the industry."

Bell, who was born in Shelby, Montana, on Aug. 8, 1938, started Whittlesea VIP Limousine and Silver State Limousine.

In both business and personal matters, Bell was dedicated and generous, his friends and family said.

Brent Bell, 41, said his father was the kind of boss employees knew by first name and he knew theirs.

"He built just a fantastic business by leading by example," said Bell, who now runs the company.

Added Shranko: "He had wonderful sense of humor, and was a total professional and a gentleman. He built up a customer base that was fiercely loyal" to Bell Trans.

One of Bell's hallmarks was his commitment not just to his own companies, but the industry as a whole.

"I'll never forget him telling me: `If the industry is strong then our companies will be strong.' That was the most important lesson he taught me," Brent Bell said.

Bell also taught his children the value of hard work and to appreciate their privileged life, the son said. When Brent Bell was in high school, his father had him spend three summers working as an assistant to a bricklayer, which the younger Bell said "was the very best thing he ever did for me."

Bell was a constant presence in his family's life. He attended every performance and competition in which his five grandchildren participated, even if he had to fly to Las Vegas from his home in Montana to do so.

Besides his son and grandchildren, Bell is survived by his wife, Michelle Compton Bell, and his daughter, Paula Bell-Saxton.

A committal service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at Swan View Memorial Gardens, and a memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. May 18 at Faith Lutheran School Chapel.

For more information please contact:

Bell Trans 1900 Industrial Rd Las Vegas, NV 89102 Tel: (800) 274-7433 Contact: Chevon Jenson, Sales Manager Email:

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Florida Operator Uses Limos To Help With Hurricane Evacuations

Mike and Marlo Denning recently moved their growing Daytona Beach area operation to a larger location.

Uber Of Private Aviation Has Tips For Tech Survival

Ronn Torossian, chief marketing officer for JetSmarter, will be presenting need-to-hear pointers on staying competitive.

Cleveland Company Promotes New General Manager

Parke Qua will manage and oversee anything that moves at Company Car & Limousine.

Richard Murillo Moves To New Sales Post At Coach West

The longtime industry vehicle seller stretches his expertise into the bus and van markets.

D-Day Survivor-Chicago Operator Honored At Cubs Game

World War II veteran Art Rento Sr., founder of Pontarelli Companies, was celebrated for his Army service in front of a Wrigley Field audience.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - September 2017 $12.95 MOTORCOACH / BUS ISSUE COVER STORY: * Irizar Racks Up A Good Rookie Year * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close