Captain Donald “Mase” Mason Wells

The family of Captain Donald Mason (Mase) Wells (USN Ret.) announce his passing on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at the age of 94 years in Gainesville, FL. He was very active in the Gainesville community and will be missed by his many friends and family members.
Mase was born on October 25, 1924 in Salem, MA to William and Nyllis (Gardner) Wells. His family moved to Marblehead, MA (Birthplace of the US Navy!), where Mase attended school. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 66 years, Phyllis (Les) Wells; his daughter Holly Wells of Newberry, FL., and her daughter Heather Wells of Green Cove Springs, FL.; his son Peter Wells and his wife Lynne of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, their children Lindsay Wells Bedell (Daniel) of Atlanta, GA and James Wells (Monika Chadwick) of San Francisco, CA.
Captain Wells spent one year at Severn Academy in Annapolis, MD, before becoming a proud member of the class of 1947 at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Annapolis, MD. His desire to attend the Naval Academy first began when his Boy Scout Troop visited the Academy during the first National Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C. in 1937. He knew what his career would be when he stepped foot on the campus, continuing his love for the ocean that he developed in Marblehead, MA, the Sailing Capital of the World, and home of the U.S. Navy.
He had a lifelong passion for the U.S. Navy and proudly served on active duty for over 30 years, 18 of which were sea duty, including destroyers, submarines, aircraft carriers, and amphibious ships. He commanded two submarines, a large amphibious ship, and was a Commodore of an amphibious squadron of eight ships where he served as Commander Caribbean Amphibious Ready Group and Commander Amphibious Task Force, Sixth Fleet.
Ashore, Captain Wells served as an instructor at the U. S. Navy’s Submarine School. He was an exchange student at the Royal Naval Staff College in Greenwich, London, England. Following this, he served on the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, stationed in London. During their 4 years in London, his family enjoyed being “Brits” by immersing themselves in British Culture. Mase and Les learned to drive on the left side of the road, they eventually bought a house and enjoyed socializing with their British friends and neighbors, with whom they have stayed lifelong friends. Holly and Peter attended English schools so were as English as their friends. While in London, the family took excursions to many foreign countries including Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jerusalem, Jordon and Egypt. During his active duty in the U.S. Navy, Captain Wells was awarded the Secretary of the Navy’s Commendation Medal and two Presidential Legion of Merit Awards.
On retiring from the U.S. Navy, in 1976, with over thirty-three years of service, Mase joined Environmental Science and Engineering, Inc., an employee owned company in Gainesville, FL, where he served in various positions until he was promoted to General Manager and Executive Vice President. He was a member of ESE’s Board of Directors. During his twelve years of service with the company, he oversaw its growth from about 70 people to well over 1,400 engineers and scientists.
Mase was a leader in many professional, civic, and military organizations. He served on the Board of PSMA, a national organization of chief executive officers and business managers of professional service firms. In Gainesville, FL Mase served on many civic, youth, fund raising, and charitable committees and boards. He was a USNA Blue and Gold Officer, he served for five years on the Board of Trustees, he also served on the Board of Directors of the USNA Class of ’47, and was a life member of USNA Alumni Association. He served as Gainesville, FL chapter president, as state president, and for six years on the National Board of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). For 39 years, he maintained perfect attendance as a Rotarian, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Mase and Les wrote the Lady Gator Golf Tails, a booster publication, and oversaw the website for the University of Florida Women’s Golf Team, for over 30 years. They spent many years traveling to tournaments with the Women’s golf team. The family often reminisced about their time in London, and returned to Europe several times with the entire family, for some of their most memorable vacations. They continued traveling the world until several years ago, Mase traveled to over 75 countries.
A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, April 11th from 4 to 6 pm at the Gainesville Country Club for friends and family. There will also be one for family and residents of Oak Hammock in the Upper Commons on Sunday, April 14th at 6:30 pm. He will be formally interned at the US Naval Academy’s Cemetery later this year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Oak Hammock Benevolent Fund, 5000 SW 25th Boulevard, Gainesville, FL 32608

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