Jack William Wells, 93, died peacefully surrounded by family, on February 4, 2023, in Kerrville, Texas.
Jack was born December 29, 1929, in Rockport, Indiana to Bessie (Olsch) and George Wells. He had one older brother, Jerry.
He is predeceased by his wife, Wanda (Jones); his daughter, Gretchen (Dean), and his brother Jerry Wells.
He is survived by his daughter, Joni, and her husband, Randal Sanders. Jack is also survived by his grandchildren: Anna, her husband, Steve; Jason, and his wife, Jennifer; and by his great grandson, Michael, Anna and Steve’s son. Jack had a long, interesting, and successful life.
After graduating from Rockport High in 1947, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving two tours of duty - the first in 1948 in China, and the second in 1950 in Korea. He then enrolled as a student at Indiana University, Bloomington and discovered an interest in geology, and utilizing his GI Bill benefits, graduating with a degree in geology, leading directly to his career in the petroleum industry.
After graduating from IU in 1955 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology, he was employed by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, later Mobil Oil, to support petroleum exploration and development in and under Lake Maracaibo and in the Amazon basin. Jack and Wanda (married 1952) spent seven years in Venezuela, and both their children were born in the US during that time.
The Wells family then moved to Midland, Texas, in 1963 where Jack would stay (outside of a brief stint in Pampa) until 2002. Jack worked in Midland for Hunt Petroleum, then H.L. Brown Operating Company. Jack and Wanda attended First United Methodist Church. Jack was an especially active member of the Racquet Club, where he regularly played doubles tennis with a group of friends. Jack was nationally ranked as an amateur doubles’ tennis player, a passion he shared with his daughters, Joni, and Gretchen.
After his retirement from H.L. Brown in 2002, Jack and Wanda returned to Rockport, purchasing a home on Main Street, and becoming active in Trinity United Methodist Church. Jack was also active in the Spencer County Historical Society and devoted much of his energy to raising tomatoes in their back garden. Jack comes from a long line of Wells family, having been in Spencer County for well over a century. Indeed, one of Jack’s favorite sites to show visitors was the place where his ancestor, Atha Meeks Sr., was scalped and killed by Indians near Little Pigeon Creek in 1812. Jack was proud to be from Rockport and renovated a home on Main Street to host his children, grandchildren, friends, and guests.
Wanda died in 2008, and Jack returned to Texas in 2009, after selling the home on Main Street. He bought another home in Rockport, one that belonged to his sister-in- law, Betty Seay. He lived in Rockport until 2019, and due to mobility issues, he then moved in with Joni’s family.
Outside of the facts of his life, Jack was a man of many interests, few of which he would verbally express enthusiasm for. He was a keen amateur home improvement specialist, whose boundless optimism but limited carpentry skills resulted in some less-than-optimal finished projects. He was an aficionado of ice cream, and while in Texas, he developed an abiding love for Blue Bell ice cream. Late in life he “got hooked on the good stuff,” Jeni’s Ice Cream. He loved watching basketball on television, and though not the most rabid IU fan, would watch them play whenever they were on. Indeed, he liked watching sports on television, a passion he typically combined with his love of ice cream.
He also loved road trips, taking his grandson Jason on several to explore the western National Parks - Yellowstone, Mesa Verde, and the Grand Canyon. Also, when not watching sports, he was a voracious reader. He read omnivorously, although he loved spy mysteries and thrillers best.
But above all else his chief love and passion was his family. Jack worked hard to support his family and be active in their lives. Jack made a significant positive difference in the lives of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchild with his wisdom, dry wit, advice, and unflagging support. Jack is, and will be, intensely missed by his family, who is thankful for his long life and his love.
Interment services for Jack’s remains, and those of his daughter Gretchen, will be later this summer in Rockport, Indiana at a date to be determined.
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