BRITT — Donald L. Wells, 79 of Britt, passed away Monday, March 16, 2020, at Hancock County Health System in Britt.
Funeral arrangements for Don Wells are incomplete at this time, due to the State of Iowa’s recent prohibition of public gatherings of groups greater than 10 people. Public services are being planned and will be published as soon as possible.
Donald Leroy Wells was born December 15, 1940 to Alfred and Evalyn (Wilhelms) Wells in Estherville, Iowa. He was raised and educated in Gruver, graduating from Gruver High School with the Class of 1958 at the age of 17.
Don was united in marriage to Diana (Carter) Vanden Wynboom on April 24, 1999. Together, the couple considered the nine children between them as their own.
Following high school, Don attended Estherville Community College where he earned his teachers certificate. At 19, he began his teaching career at Terril, Iowa where he taught for two years before teaching at Ringsted for another two years. Following his tenure in Ringsted, he taught at Algona for two years, moving to Britt in 1967 where he taught until his retirement in 1996. Don also served as an adjunct professor at Buena Vista University at their Mason City campus for a number of years.
Following his retirement from teaching, Don worked for Chuck Conaway for 10 years and helped Randy Hiscocks with his farming during spring and fall. During the summer months, he worked for Harold Boekelman building grain bins. Additionally, Don used his CDL from time to time, driving for Herman Buns and Ed DeGeus. Don enjoyed working with his hands, welding and carpentry work were among his favorites.
Don collected coins for many years, a hobby he passed down to his son and grandson. He was a member of the Clarion and Fort Dodge Coin Clubs. He loved volunteering his time running the scoreboard for high school basketball games, working in the concession stand and serving as mentor for countless students and former students. The Wells home became a hub for these kids, there were often guests at the dinner table. One of his greatest joys was visiting with former students any chance he could, especially during Hobo Days.
During his teaching career, Don was a member of the Iowa State Education Association, serving as President, and with the National Education Association for a number of years. He was a long time member of First Lutheran Church in Britt, having served on the church board several years. Don was a member of the Britt Centennial celebration planning committee, helped design the commemorative coin and helped develop the slogan: “founded by the rail, sustained by the plow.”
In later years, Don and Diana were regular attendees on Friday nights at Hancock County Speedway, at special events at the track during Hobo Days and County Fairs, and at the Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, despite Don’s poor dancing skills.
Don touched countless lives in a number of ways. He was proud to call Britt his home for all these years.
Don is survived by his wife Diana Wells of Britt; children David (Jamie) Wells of Marshalltown, Rhonda Becker of Rosenberg, Texas, Cindy (Tom) Mueller of Middletown, Connecticut, Tim Wells of Altoona, Jake Gear of Britt, Heather (Marty VanZee) Reid of Ankeny, Spencer (Tabitha) Gear of Britt, Tyler (Megan) Vanden Wynboom of Polk City and Taylor (Amanda) Vanden Wynboom of Huxley; grandchildren Zach (Whit) Wells of Waverly, Spc. Josh Wells, US Army of Fort Carson, Colorado, Jeremy Becker of Rosenberg, Texas, Jonathon Boyle and Collin Boyle of Keokuk, Iowa, Rylee Wells of Altoona, Sydnee (Elijah Feuerhelm) Reid of Ames, Alex Reid of Des Moines, Bailey Gear of Britt, Zoe Vanden Wynboom and Riley of Polk City and Tate, Harper, Holland and Harlow Vanden Wynboom of Huxley; sister Betty Mae (Richard) Rosburg of Estherville; sister-in-law Betty Lou Wells; along with numerous nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, son Kelly Gear, son-in-law Ronnie Becker and brother Elmer Wells.