James "Jim" Thomas Wells was born October 6, 1944, in Pryor, Mayes County, Oklahoma, to Tom and Alice Fox Wells. He passed away January 13, 2021, at Via Christi Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, diagnosed with Covid-19.
The family moved from rural Pryor, Oklahoma, in 1951 to Kiowa, Kansas, where he attended school and graduated from Kiowa High School in 1962. He was known in Kiowa as a hard worker helping his dad with his trash hauling business and as being a tough tackle in football at KHS.
He was disappointed that he couldn't serve in the military due to a childhood accident that slightly injured his eye. He was a skilled welder and worked at several businesses in Kiowa known especially for designing farm equipment at Coontz Implement. He then moved to Ponca City in 1980 and was employed by Mertz Manufacturing, in Ponca City, where he worked for 38 years as layout manager.
He was known by all as a quiet, laid-back guy who was kind, with a big heart, always willing to help when he could. He was great at fixing whatever was wrong with a car or creating building projects. He and his brother, Steve, were always working "hand in hand." What one didn't know about a job the other one did. They were always working on cars while still in high school and many other projects over the years.
Jim and Sue Martin were married in 1996 and made their home in Kildare, Oklahoma.
He will be remembered and deeply missed by his family and many friends. Jim was a loving husband, brother, Dad and Grandpa to his many grandchildren who loved to be on Papa's lap and always with him.
Jim is survived by his wife Sue of the home, son James Jr. of Oklahoma City, daughter Michelle Gambol of Catoosa, OK, stepdaughters Jamie Powell and Crystal Leonard and husband Brad of Ponca City; grandchildren Ashley Brown, Joseph Brown, Jordan Brown, Jennie Thorngren, Brenna, Jorja, Robert, Sam, Evie, Brandy Parks (Seth), Megan Alire and Casey Redman; 22 great-grandchildren; one brother, Stephen Wells (Rachel) of Douglas, Georgia; sisters Salley Ruskoski (Tulsa), Tommie Jo Hyde (Kiowa, Kansas), Donna Erikson (Leon) of Alva; many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Alice Wells; two sisters, Doris Turner and Angie Pollock; daughter-in-law Stacey Wells and two grandchildren, Stephen and Christina; nephews Freddie Turner, Jerrald Peevy and Robert Hyde; brothers-in-law Fred Turner, Rick Ruskoski and Loyd Hyde; one sister-in law, Marilyn Wells; and other relatives.
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