Phyllis (Les) Wells’ Obituary
The family of Phyllis (Les) Harty Wells announce her passing on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at the age of 91 years in Gainesville, FL. She was active in the Gainesville community, and will be missed by her many family and friends.
Les was born on June 10, 1928 in Lynn, Massachusetts to Edgar and Loraine (DeForge) Harty. She lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts, until her marriage to her loving husband of 66 years, Donald Mason (Mase) Wells. She will be lovingly remembered by her daughter Holly Wells of Newberry, FL., and her daughter Heather Wells of Green Cove Springs, FL.; her 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, as well as one great-grandchild, Emerson (Emmy) Ann Bedell.
After graduating from Marblehead High School, Les Harty attended Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, where she graduated in 1948, eventually working as a drafting and engineering assistant for the Turbine Engineering Section of General Electric Company, in Lynn, Massachusetts.
After marriage, the family lived in Groton, Connecticut, where Mase was serving as a US Navy submarine officer. In 1960, the Navy took her family to London, England. During their 4 years in London, her 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 stayed lifelong friends. Holly and Peter attended English schools so were as English as their friends and the family took excursions to many foreign countries including Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordon and Egypt. While in London, Les served on the Board of Governors of Babington House School in Chislehurst, Kent, England. She was decorating chairman for the Royal Naval Staff College Wives group.
On returning to the United States in 1964, Les and her family lived alternately in Norfolk, Virginia, and Washington, DC, for the next 12 years. During this period, Les was particularly active in Red Cross and Navy Relief activities. She served as the Decorations Chairman of many Naval Officers’ Wives Clubs and was President of the 2000-member Naval Officers’ Wives’ Club of the East Coast Naval Amphibious Force for several years.
On Mase’s retirement from the Navy in 1976, Les and Mase moved to Gainesville, Florida. Here, Les became an avid golfer. The family, like most everyone else in Gainesville, became adopted University of Florida “Gators”. Les was a founding member of the Lady Gator Golf Boosters, an organization that grew to over 200 members providing support to the women’s golf team at the University of Florida. She served as its second President and worked for over 20 years helping the organization grow and prosper. They spent many years traveling to tournaments with the Women’s golf team. She also was the President of the Gainesville Women’s Golf Association and was a member of the Gainesville Country Club. She served for 31 years as her Colby-Sawyer College Class Secretary and represented Dr. Ann Ponder, a recent President of Colby-Sawyer at the inauguration of Dr. Bernard Machen as the eleventh President of the University of Florida.
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. Les and Mase continued traveling the world until several years ago.
A celebration of life will be held on February 22, 2020 from 3 to 5 pm at Oak Hammock in the Upper Commons, for friends and family. She will be formally interned at the US Naval Academy’s Cemetery later this year with her husband. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Oak Hammock Benevolent Fund, 5000 SW 25th Boulevard, Gainesville, FL 32608 or Lady Gator Golf Boosters, PO Box 358830, Gainesville, FL 32635 or Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street
New London, NH 03257. Arrangements are in the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES 311 S. Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 376-5361 www.milamfh.com