Lieutenant General Benjamin Neil Bellis, USAF Retired, 95, passed away Aug. 19, 2019, at home in Monument, Colo. Born to Harvey Benjamin Bellis and Grace Davidson of Wheatland on Feb. 4, 1924, Benjamin spent his early years in both Wheatland and Lingle. After graduating from Lingle High School and attending The University of Wyoming for one year, General Bellis earned an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Military Engineering, a commission as a second lieutenant, and his pilot wings. He earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1952 and a Master of Science Degree in Business Administration from the George Washington University in 1965. He also completed the executive program of the Graduate School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.
During his distinguished career, General Bellis served as the program director for the SR-71, the F-15 Eagle, Commander of the Electronics Systems Division of the Air Force Systems Command Commander of the 17th Air Force (Germany), the Commander of Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force (Turkey) and completed his career as Vice Commander In Chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He retired from active duty as a Lieutenant General, Aug. 1, 1981. On Jan. 27, 2015, Governor Matthew Mead, in recognition of General Bellis’ contributions to aviation and national defense, proclaimed Lieutenant General Benjamin N. Bellis Day throughout the state of Wyoming.
General Bellis is survived by his wife of 72 years, Rosemary (Nissley) Bellis, children and spouses Barbara (Jon Abeles) of Surprise, Ariz., Rebecca of Colorado Springs, Colo., Rosalyn of Alexandria, Va., and Benjamin Jr. (Rona) of Yigo, Guam; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Graveside service will be held at 2:00 PM, Friday, Aug. 30. United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, (North Gate) US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Road, Monument, CO 80132. Donna Henderson.