Lt. Col. (Ret.) John "Mike" "Taco" Michael Bell

January 18, 1956January 3, 2013
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Lt. Col. (Ret.) John Michael “Taco” Bell, 56, passed away Jan. 3, 2013 in Mountain Home, ID.

Mike was born on Jan. 18, 1956 to Ed and Betty Bell in Louisville, KY. He attended grade school at St. Pius Elementary School and graduated from St. Xavier High School. Mike joined the Kentucky National Guard in 1979 where he began his distinguished career as a pilot for the U.S. Air Force while earning his MBA from Golden Gate University. He amassed over 6,000 hours of flight time, which includes 600 hours of combat time. Mike always said he was “Getting paid to have fun” while he flew the RF-4C Phantom II and the F4-G Wild Weasel fighter jets. During his 33 years of active military service, he became one of the first commanding officers for the C-130 Hercules Squadron as well as a Flight Instructor. He was honored with many prestigious awards and medals.

Mike had a contagious sense of humor and it was humbling to be in his presence. Kindness, loyalty, determination, goodwill, and generosity were foundations of his positive outlook on life. He was a man of his word and spoke with sincerity about the beauty in every sunrise, blessed every day to enjoy “God’s free show.” He explored it by camping, fishing, and four-wheeling with his children and friends.

Mike was preceded in death by his mother and father and is survived by his three children with Lisa Parsons Bisbee (Steve): John, Jason, and Heather; brothers, Tom Bell (Jill) and Ed Bell (Carolyn); sister, Theresa Rogers (George); three nieces, five nephews; and companion Sally Guaspari.

A viewing for family and friends will be held from 4-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10th at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, 112 N. 9th St., Payette. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Jan. 11th at the First United Methodist Church, 502 N. 11th St., Payette. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery, Payette. Services are under the direction of Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, Payette.

Memorials may be made to the Boise VA Voluntary Service, c/o Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, P.O. Box 730, Payette, ID 83661. Condolences may be made to Mike’s family at


  • Visitation Thursday, January 10, 2013
  • Funeral Service Friday, January 11, 2013

Lt. Col. (Ret.) John "Mike" "Taco" Michael Bell

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Bill Harkins

January 24, 2013


You were a great friend. I will always remember the great times we had in Louisville. You were certainly one of M/G Carl Black's "Best of the Best". Your career and reputation attest to that. To your children I say that you all could not have had a better man for a father. I knew him when you were just a twinkle in his eyes. If you would like to know something of him from his RF-4 days with the KYANG just contact me. Mike, just press on brother.

Bill Harkins, 123AW, KYANG (ret)
502 352 3205
Frankfort KY

Major General (Ret) Larry Lafrenz

January 12, 2013

My sincere condolences to the Bell Family. I flew with "Taco" many times. You could not find a more sincere and professional person, friend, and pilot. He will be truly missed by everyone who had the honor of knowing him.

CMSgt Kris Kotter

January 12, 2013

Taco, Thank you for teaching me the importance of being a leader among men. You will be missed but your legacy will live forever. To all the family members and friends...Peace be with you all. I will always remember the goodness that Taco so freely gave to all. God Bless

Raymond York

January 11, 2013

Our prayers are with the Bell family, so sorry for your loss. Ray abd Sherry York

Tim "Thumper" Siegel Maj. Ret IDANG

January 11, 2013

My deepest sympythy.
I really enjoyed Taco's humor and ehthusiasm for life.

Luann Hyde

January 11, 2013

My deepest condolences to the Bell family. I always enjoyed Taco's friendliness and fun personality while working with him at IDANG. He was a good guy who will be missed.

Kim Callahan

January 11, 2013

May God bless and comfort Taco's family and friends. I will fondly remember him as an outstanding pilot, friend, and mentor. My heart is breaking for the loss of such a quality soul.

Lt Col Rick Harper, IDANG

January 11, 2013

March 11, 1996, was the day Taco called me to say that I had been hired as a C-130 Pilot with the 189th Airlift Squadron. We flew together numerous times over the years. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity he gave me. Godspeed Taco.

Sandra King

January 11, 2013

My heartfelt condolences to your family

January 11, 2013

John, Jason, Heather and Sally, and the Bell Family, my sincere condolence to you at this time. Godspeed "Taco." With deepest sympathy, Kenalee Pecora-Dougherty (ret. IDANG)