Jeff Bell image
1/2
2/2
Obituary

Jeff Bell

1957 – 2021

“Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large. I contain multitudes.)”

-Walt Whitman

Jeffrey R. Bell contained multitudes. Devoted husband, gardener, neighbor, friend, Democrat, social justice champion and watercolor artist — Jeff took you in and cared for you. Born Halloween 1957 in Yuba City, California to Edwin R. Bell and Doris Valerie (Porter) Bell, Jeff’s truest calling made itself known when he and his garden were featured in Sunset Magazine at the age of 10. After majoring in horticulture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Jeff lived in San Francisco and became an “accidental florist.” His work led him to Seattle in 1996 where he worked for Gehl Flowers and onwards into his own landscaping business. Clients quickly became friends because Jeff was friends with everyone.

When neighbors were invited into Jeff’s yard, they nearly always left with a plant for their home. Jeff’s generosity extended to everyone, whether he was on the ground playing with numerous “nieces and nephews” (regardless of their actual relations) or demonstrating his gentlemanly kindness through his work to advance human rights. During holidays, Jeff would create a feast for the eyes, these were often accompanied by a feast for your palette prepared by his longtime husband Tom Schmidt.

Tom and Jeff’s love story began in Seattle, but it took them around the world. Jeff’s passion for travel included one of his best memories of a National Geographic cruise to Costa Rica. It might be easier to list the great cities of the world that haven’t borne witness to Tom and Jeff’s lust for life. Because Jeff could never pass up a good party and always had a willing partner in crime in Tom, friends were made across the country and around the world.

That circle of friends will never forget the luminosity of Jeff’s warmth and good humor. Jeff lost his battle with cancer on February 6, 2021.

Land Acknowledgement

Recompose acknowledges we make our lives and livelihoods on the lands of the Coast Salish People, specifically the Duwamish People. We honor with gratitude the Duwamish People past and present, the land itself, and the Duwamish Tribe.

Colonization is an active, persistent process. Indigenous communities continue to be resilient in protecting their ecological and cultural lifeways and deathways despite ongoing oppression. Recompose respects, shares, and supports this commitment to climate healing and environmental justice. Join Recompose in contributing to Real Rent Duwamish.