Frank K. Wells, a decorated World War II veteran, died April 7, 2020, in Fairfield, Conn. He was 98.
Born January 16, 1922, in Rye, N.Y., he was the son of Joseph and Rose (LaRussell) Wells. In 1940, he graduated from Rye High School, where he excelled at academics and sports, especially baseball. A classmate called him the “up and coming Lou Gehrig” in their high school yearbook. Scouted by the Major Leagues, his hopes of a baseball career were interrupted by World War II.
He joined the Army Air Corps on November 6, 1942. Schooled in Tupelo, Miss., he went on to become a B-29 bombardier and was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He served overseas with the 73rd Bomb Wing out of Isley Field in Saipan, flew in missions there and the Mariana Islands and achieved the rank of second lieutenant. He was awarded the American Campaign, WWII Victory, and Asiatic Pacific medals for his service. He was honorably discharged on May 7, 1946.
While on leave, he married Mary Liberati on January 29, 1944, and after he returned from service they settled in Rye, where they built a life and a family.
Mr. Wells taught elementary physical education at Resurrection Grammar School and high school health at Resurrection Academy, where he also coached basketball. Over the years, Frank and Mary Wells welcomed a son and four daughters into the world.
In the 1960s, he took a job with Prudential where he sold insurance until he retired in 1984.
In his free time, he coached CYO basketball, was active for more than two decades in local Boy Scouts Troop 1, and he served as a founding member of the Rye Hunter’s Club.
The Wells retired to Fort Pierce, Fla., where Frank’s commitment to community and staying active continued. He served as president of the Spanish Lakes Country Club Village Homeowners Association, was a member of the community’s bocce league, and co-chaired the organizing committee for the community’s “Senior Fitness Games.” He was an avid player of sports, including softball, tennis, and golf, who helped lead his bocce team to a league championship. His golf game was more than on par — he shot two holes-in-one in his lifetime.
His wife died in 1996 and in 2014, he settled in Fairfield, Conn.
Mr. Wells is survived by his children, Daniel (Elizabeth) Wells of Fishkill, N.Y., Linda of Rye, Kathy Peterson of Bridgeport, Conn., Carolyn Anderson of Denver, and Barbara Wells and her wife, Debra Spross of Fairfield, Conn. He is also survived by six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom called him “Pop Pop”. He was predeceased by his brother, Anthony “Tooby” Wells.
A service in celebration of his life will be held in Rye at a future date.
In remembrance of Frank Wells, his family asks that you consider making a donation to the national Honor Flight Network, whose mission is to transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country. He cherished the experience of taking one of the flights with his brother Tooby, on November 6, 2010 — 68 years to the day he joined the Army Air Corps.