Murphy Funeral Homes
1102 West Broad Street
Falls Church, VA

BELLO TOM BELLO After a lifetime of community and religious service, Tom Bello died peacefully from melanoma in his McLean, VA home, surrounded by his family, at the age of 66. Tom moved to northern Virginia with his wife in 1975 after discontinuing his studies at Yale Law School. He pursued instead both writing and teaching to help underserved communities. For 34 years, he taught adult refugees and immigrants English as a second language, enabling them to improve their lives through better communications skills. qually devoted to spiritual life, Tom studied and trained many years to become a Roman Catholic deacon. Serving in the Arlington Diocese, primarily at St. James, Tom proclaimed the Gospel, offered homilies, baptized children, led Scripture study groups, presided at funerals and marriages, helped distribute food for needy families, and ministered especially to those confined in hospitals, nursing homes, or prisons. A lifelong admirer of St. Francis, Tom joined the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) to better pursue peace, prayer, and active service to others. He served as National Minister for all North American Secular Franciscans for the last 6 years. Tom earned many honors (eg, Rhodes and Morehead Scholarships and teaching awards), but he most valued helping others. Although imperfect like us all, Tom made service to others the spine of his life. He is survived by his wife, Judy; sons Yeats and Pierce and daughter Jackie; daughters-in-law Alyssa and Justine; grandchildren Julian, Cadence, Rowan, and Parker; and extended family Melissa Hippler; John, Dylan, and Hannah Butler; Kirstin Krudwig; Nathan Williams; and Mark Schoofs. Wakes sharing stories about Tom will be held at 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 1 at Murphy Funeral Home, 1102 W. Broad St., and a funeral Mass on Saturday, April 2 at 10 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church, 905 Park Ave. (both in Falls Church). To celebrate Tom''s life, you could volunteer to help immigrants, needy families, your faith community, prisoners, patients, or soup kitchens. You also could contribute to your favorite charity or one of Tom''s: Catholic Charities, St. James Catholic Church Social Outreach Committee, OFS, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.Wakes sharing stories about Tom will be held at 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 1 at Murphy Funeral Home, 1102 W. Broad St., and a funeral Mass on Saturday, April 2 at 10 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church, 905 Park Ave. (both in Falls Church). To celebrate Tom''s life, you could volunteer to help immigrants, needy families, your faith community, prisoners, patients, or soup kitchens. You also could contribute to your favorite charity or one of Tom''s: Catholic Charities, St. James Catholic Church Social Outreach Committee, OFS, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Published by The Washington Post on Apr. 1, 2016.
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27 Entries
This was a big shock to find out that Tom has been gone for more than 4 years. I am saddened but will miss Tom who was my great ESL teacher. He was caring and loved all of his students. He had such a great memory and always remembered the students names after learning it for the first time. He pronounced our names correctly and repeated it after he first learned everyone’s names. He was a funny teacher who always made us laugh. I won’t ever forget having Tom as my teacher and teaching me how to deal and live in a new society with a different language. My deepest condolences to all his family.

His former student,
Kim Kha
Ngân Kha (Kim)
August 6, 2020
God Bless Deacon Bello and his family. Deacon Bello, pray for us sinners. Amen.

Alden Abbott and family
Alden Abbott
March 26, 2020
Tom, it has been 2 years since you passed away. I could not fulfill your wish as you would attend on my graduation ceremony. Until now, I am still shock when think about your leaving. You had taught me how to be strong in this society. I just want you to enjoy your time right now. Thank you for all your helping toward me.
Tina Cuc Nguyen
March 29, 2018
I am so shocked to find out that Tom has been gone. He was such an amazing person. Tom, you will be missed!
October 11, 2017
It's been over a year now that you have been gone but your spirit is still very much alive within those of us you touched. We love you and hold you in our hearts always . Donna Hollis,ofs Las Cruces NM
May 4, 2017
I can't believe he died! He was my ESL teacher back in 2006. I loved him so much!RIP
March 9, 2017
II just learned of Tom's death from the Carolina alumni magazine. We were classmates from elementary school through college and then lost touch. We both ran for a Student body president of our elementary school,and I won. When he ran for Student Body president at Carolina he joked that he was relieved I was not running against him. He was always an incredibly kind and funny guy.
Jeanne Finan
July 26, 2016
I am perhaps the last to hear of this, and am deeply saddened given I taught for Tom on a number of occasions at Willston and found him an exceptional human being.
Jim Talens
July 8, 2016
Deacon Tom Bello was my inspiration of trying to be the best Franciscan who I could be. He was charismatic, joyful, loving, kind, and most gracious. He was insightful and encouraging to all. He loved everyone and everything in life! He will always have a special place in my heart! I was honored to be in his presence at NAFRA in Clinton NJ. God Bless Tom and God Bless the Bello Family! THANK YOU TOM for being the greatest Secular Franciscan of all time! You are missed!
June 12, 2016
I am saddened by the loss of Deacon Tom Bello. He was very kind to my family. Also, my brother and I frequently attended benedictions led by Deacon Bello, at St. James. I offer my prayers for the repose of Deacon Bello's soul, and my prayers and sympathy for Deacon Bello's wife and family, as well as to priests and others who served with him.
Matthew Whitehead
April 15, 2016
Our Beloved Tom Bello was such an example of St. Francis charism and showed Christ passion and care to all he met. He will be missed but we can continue the call Blessed are we to have known him. much prayer support to the family.
Donna Hollis, OFS
April 5, 2016
Sincere condolences to Tom's family and friends. Through my work with the Secular Franciscan International Fraternity, I have known Tom for many years. His loss will be felt by many. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. Wishing you peace and all that is good.
Doug Clorey
April 4, 2016
What a time of reflection for us all as we remember such an amazing man, Tommy Bello. He was my high school classmate at Broughton. We initially got to know each other as I worked downtown at Hudson Belk and he worked next door at the jewelry store. He was so passionate about ideas and just about everything. Of course, that infectious laugh!! He would discuss characters in books he was reading but was most interested in your thoughts, even at age 16. One of the last times I saw him was when he was president of the student body at UNC and he was very concerned about the invasion of Cambodia by Nixon but wanted only to facilitate dialogue in a positive way. It should be no surprise this wonderful leader chose to devote his life to Christian ideals. What an honor to have known him !! I will be long inspired by Tommy to review what is important in life... My sincere condolences to all of you, his family.
Mary Ann Gunter Sigler
April 3, 2016
Tom, touched my life while he was teaching ESL, always he said "You can do it if you want."
Thanks and always you are going to be in my prayers and heart
Maria Teresa Laguna
April 2, 2016
Tom Bello was such an ICON when I arrived at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1970. He was SUCH an inspiration to many of us because he was so smart and successful yet extremely compassionate as well. I was introduced to him by Richard Epps, the first Black student President at UNC. God Bless the Bello family.
Allen Mask
April 2, 2016
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to your family at this difficult time. Please find peace in knowing that God understands your grief and that He cares.-1 Pet 5:6,7.
April 2, 2016
My most heartfelt sympathies to all of you - Judy, Yeats, Pierce, and Jackie - in this time of great loss. What a great man, and what an inspirational life he lived.
Barbara Cackler
April 2, 2016
I am sorry for your loss. I knew Tom's sister when she was at Duke.
Charlie van der Horst
April 2, 2016
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for Deacon Bello. May the heavenly host welcome him in glory into Heaven, where, as part of the Church triumphant, may he intercede for us. May the Lord the Holy Spirit comfort Judy, Yeats, Jackie, and Pierce and their families. Saints Edmund Campion and Thomas More, pray for the extended Bello family. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Mother of deacons and priests, pray for Deacon Bello. May perpetual light shine on Deacon Bello. Amen.
Alden Abbott
April 1, 2016
The world has lost one who served & loved those in need. His life was the embodiment of the art of giving. He will be greatly missed by multitudes. We send our thoughts & prayers to his family.
Aino and Chuck Leedom
April 1, 2016
Tom was the best man in our wedding. He was also the best man on the planet.
Michael Decker
April 1, 2016
Tom was one of the great ones and a strong supporter of Franciscan Action Network on whose board he served with wisdom and dedication. He will be missed.
Sister Marie Lucey
April 1, 2016
The extent of Tom's impact on both the learner and faith communities is immeasurable, Though our lives had not intersected in a while, his words, actions, humor, laugh, and love have continued to pepper my life with delight. My most profound sympathies to you, Judy, and your family. Abrazo, Jane Cruz
April 1, 2016
I am very sorry to hear of Tom's death. I was honored to know him via my cantoring ministry at S. James. We always had pleasant talks and we would often share stories about school life in Fairfax County. Tom really did care about others and he was a good listener as well as a very effective homilist. I felt fortunate to see him again during daily mass, when he returned to S. James to assist at mass over the last few months. Please accept my sincere condolences, and may your fond memories and interactions with Tom help to comfort you during this sad time.
Marian Schultz
April 1, 2016
Hi Judy
My heartfelt condolences for your loss.
Even though it has been many years since we last visited, I thought of Y'all often (mainly along the lines of what is my old roomie up to now ?).
Again, my thoughts and prayers.
Russ and Phyllis Fuller
April 1, 2016
Judy and Family, I am so sorry for your loss. Fast or slow, it always comes as a shock.
Jim McGrath
April 1, 2016
Tom Bello was one of the finest people I have ever known. I became acquainted with Tom many years ago through the Secular Franciscans, of which I am one. He did so much for the National Fraternity, the St. Margaret of Cortona Region and individual fraternities in the Northern VA area. He was always generous with his time, had a wonderful cheerful attitude and a great laugh that one would never forget. He was unselfish and always willing to help others, especially the less fortunate. He was the embodiment of St. Francis himself. I will miss Tom very much. His life will be an inspiration to me to do more for others and to always follow the Gospel Life in the spirit of St. Francis.

To his family, my deepest sympathy to all of you. I hope this verse gives you comfort: "Death is not extinguishing the light. It is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come." by Rabindranath Tagore
Karen Connair
March 31, 2016
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