The Macomb and Western Illinois University communities gathered to celebrate the life of Gil Belles. Belles, 76, was killed in late May when his car was hit by an Amtrak train.
Belles was remembered for his knowledge of history, his passion for the arts, and his tireless efforts to make the town and the university better places.
He was professor emeritus of Western Illinois University's Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration (RPTA) department, and earlier taught in the Department of History.
Belles was involved in countless groups and activities over the years, including Open Door, the President's Task Force to End Homophobia, the Performing Arts Society, YMCA of McDonough County, the Western Illinois Museum, Meals on Wheels, McDonough County Historical Society, and the Macomb Public Library.
A brief, formal Celebration of Life program was held in the College of Fine Arts & Communication Recital Hall at WIU on July 15. Afterward, everyone gathered outside for ice cream, which was another of Belles’ passions.
Tri States Public Radio News talked to a few of the many people who attended the program and produced the accompanying audio piece, with musical assistance from TSPR Music Director Ken Zahnle.
Belles actively supported TSPR and frequently called in with requests during Ovation, the classical music program hosted by Zahnle.