Raymond E. Wells, 89 of Charleston passed away Monday, February 3, 2014, in Fort Smith. He was born on September 22, 1924 in Turner, Maine, to Flavius and Doris Kimball Wells. He was a retired educator including 2 years as a teacher at Farmington, 12 Years as a teacher, principal, and superintendent at Lavaca, and 22 years as principal of Greenwood Junior High School.
Education was very important to Raymond. He requested a deferment of his deployment in order to finish his high school degree. He received his degree six months later from Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine. Following his return, he attended two years at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville before transferring to the University of Arkansas to finish his degree. He went on to receive a master’s degree in education, which he put to good use. He served 36 years as an educator in the state of Arkansas. He was a member of the Arkansas Education Association, National Education Association, and, following his retirement, the Franklin County Retired Teachers Association. Raymond was well respected at every school at which he served. After he retired, Greenwood Junior High renamed the school in his honor. Raymond was also inducted into the Greenwood Education Hall of Honor as well as being recognized by the Arkansas Association of Educational Administration for 36 years of outstanding leadership and service to education in Arkansas.
Raymond was a veteran of World War II having served in the Army Air Corps as a B24 waist gunner/ball turret gunner. He was in the European Theater, flying out of Norwich, England. It was during one of his breaks during the war that he met his beloved wife, Helen.
Raymond was a longtime member of the Charleston First United Methodist Church and served in many leadership capacities including Sunday School superintendent, church treasurer, and church secretary, for which he was honored by the congregation for 17 1/2 years of service. He was a 50-year member of the Charleston Masonic Lodge #155.
Raymond remained interested in aviation after the war, and later in life he acquired his private pilot’s license and enjoyed building his own RV6A airplane that he flew to Maine twice. He also was a charter member of the Experimental Aircraft Association chapter at Etna, AR as well as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. At the time of his death he was building a light sport RV12 with his son, Kendal. In addition to his love of flying he also enjoyed beekeeping. He kept hives of honeybees from the time he was a teenager. As he was able, he enjoyed growing a large garden and especially enjoyed a successful garden last summer with his grandson, Mason.
Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Helen of the home; three sons, Stanley and wife Jeanne of Charleston, Kendal and wife Lavon of Cabot, and Mitchell and wife Jill of Charleston; eight grandchildren, Emily Hester and husband Raydodd, Mason Wells, Amanda and Dana Wells, and Wesley, Delaney, Henley, and Remy Wells.
The service was held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 8, 2014, at the First United Methodist Church of Charleston with the burial at Garden of Memories Cemetery in Charleston under the direction of Smith Mortuary of Charleston. A military funeral honors ceremony was conducted at the cemetery.
Officiating at the service were Reverend Chuck Coffelt and Reverend Zachary Underwood.
Pallbearers were Mike Passmore, Ronnie Teague, Carl Underwood, Vondal Moore, Ashley Whitman, and Damon Sadler. Honorary pallbearers were members of the Ford Sunday school class.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Charleston First United Methodist Church, PO Box 35, Charleston, AR 72933.