1942 – 2023
Joe Wells, born on August 7 th , 1942 in Kansas, passed away on October 4, 2023 in Bakersfield surrounded by his family. Joe was given up for adoption as an infant, and made it to Oildale where he was adopted by Sylvester and Alma Wells. He was raised along side his two sisters Martha and Louise. Joe was raised in Oildale, and attended Catholic parochial schools. After graduating from Garces High School, he enrolled in the Marines, and was stationed upon the USS Yorktown. He was one of 12 Marines on a vessel of more than 2,200 Navy sailors. He was assigned to the Admiral, and was his guard on and off the ship. On one of his leaves back in Bakersfield, he met Maureen Mettler. They married September 29, 1962 and had two children, Joey and Debi.
After marriage the family moved to Los Banos, and then McFarland. From McFarland the family moved to Wasco, where they raised both children. Joe worked for Holly Chevrolet in Wasco, then went to work for Richland Chevrolet in Shafter where he spent the next 30 years working, moving up to the Sales Manager position the last 15 years. Joe retired from Richland Chevrolet in 2015.
Joe spent his lifetime giving back to his country and local service clubs. After the Marines, he joined the 20-30 Club in Wasco, then the Elks, and the Rotary Club in Shafter. In addition, he spent approximately 30 years as a California Free Mason, working his way up to a Shriner. A remarkable accomplishment.
Joe had many passions in life. He loved Nascar, attending numerous races on the West Coast. His favorite driver was the 4 car of Kevin Harvick. He recorded the races he could not watch. He also attended a Indy 500 race in Indianapolis. An even bigger love was sailing. Not many people living in Wasco had sailboats, but he did. The Miss Moe was docked in Oxnard, and he and his wife Maureen spent much time staying on the boat, and sailing with friends. Like any boat owner, he wanted a bigger, boat, and they did just that, purchasing the Miss Moe II. Their sailing adventures included sailing catamarans in the British Virgin Islands. Joe’s ocean adventures were not limited to sailing. In his mid 70’s he became scuba certified along side his grandchildren in Maui, another accomplishment he was proud of.
Of all his accomplishments, he was most proud to of been a Marine. He re-connected with fellow Marines and sailors that were aboard the USS Yorktown. He was so very proud to take his son Joey and his family on a tour of the USS Yorktown while it was decommissioned in Charleston, South Carolina. You could see the pride he had in that ship. Late in life he was honored to have been flown back to Washington D.C. as part of the Honor Flight, where they toured the military memorials, and was presented a US flag during a ceremony. He was a proud Marine.
Joe is a cancer survivor, beating prostate cancer in 2022. Starting in early August he became hospitalized for an infection. That began a 9 week journey of hospitalization in Bakersfield, USC Medical Center, and finally City of Hope. He was eventually diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Early in hospice care he was at home, where his wife and two children took care of him. He watched as the family shared meals, laughed, cried, and talked of the past. It is reassuring to know he went to the Lord knowing his family loved each other.
Joe is survived by his wife of 61 years Maureen, his son Joey, daughter in law Tobbie and grandchildren Madeleine and Fitz, daughter Debi, son in law Mark, and grandchild Sam, and sister Loise Gooding. Preceded in death by his parents Sylvester and Alma Wells, and sister Martha Krueger. Funeral arrangements pending.
The family would like to thank all of the medical care teams that took care of him, his Pastor Tracy Gruggett and the Grace Reformed Church of which he was a member of for their prayers and comfort, and finally the staff of the Hoffman House hospice care for their compassion during the last days of his life.
Published by Bakersfield Californian from Oct. 7 to Oct. 8, 2023.