Name: James Proctor WELLS
Given Name: James Proctor
Birth: 11 Mar 1943
Death: 14 Jun 2014 in Caldwell, , West Virginia
Reference Number: 164
James Proctor Wells
Change Date: 19 Jul 2015 at 10:12:28
James Proctor Wells passed away at his home in Caldwell, WV, on Saturday, June 14, 2014.
An anatomist, primatologist, anthropologist, scuba diver, and adventurer, he was born March 11, 1943, to Jarratt and Baldwin Wells of Baltimore, MD.
Jim grew up crabbing and building boats with his father on the Chesapeake Bay. As a young man, he had a love of nature, water, and science. He built and launched model rockets with his uncle and collected shells and driftwood on the banks of the Bay with his parents. As a teenager, he played guitar in a rock and roll band with his friends that was showcased at local parties and school dances.
While studying at the University of Maryland, Jim met and married his college sweetheart, Nancy Jean Little.
In 1967, Jim was drafted into the Army and went to Korea. One year later, Nancy joined him, and they lived together with a Korean family in Seoul.
Returning home, Jim went back to his studies and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in physical anthropology with a subfield in archaeology.
By 1974, Jim was teaching anatomy at SUNY in Stoneybrook, NY.
Avid spelunkers, Jim and Nan spent weekends caving in West Virginia.
It wasn't long before they decided to move with a baby girl and a baby goat to Monroe County, WV.
With a small group of friends and relatives, they dismantled, moved, and reassembled a log cabin on a farm in Greenville, WV, where they would spend the next 20 years.
Jim began teaching and conducting research at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, WV, where he dedicated over 30 years of his life. He loved his work, his colleagues, and his students, whose successes made him incredibly proud. His research focused on primates, and he spent months of every year chasing monkeys and exploring the forests of Puerto Rico, Costa Rica,
During this time, Jim also set up a woodworking shop on the farm in Greenville, where he made furniture, from lamps to beds. Jim and Nan also bought and restored Cook's Old Mill in Greenville, and Jim set up one of the largest iron forges on the East Coast. He became a talented decorative blacksmith, whose art featured grapevines, oak leaves, and dragons as common themes, echoing his love of nature and fantasy.
Throughout his life, he enjoyed and cherished the company of his family and friends. He is loved and missed by his wife, Nan; his children, Lisa, Amy, Zachary, and Megan; and countless friends, colleagues, and family members. His legacy lives on in the love he gave them and the way he lived, happily, with an easy charm and ample kindness. He remains a wonderful model for his grandchildren, Michael, Samantha, Jacob, Ethan, and Cyrus.
A memorial service will be held in Jim's honor at Rhema Christian Center in Fairlea, WV, on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at 2 PM.
McCraw Funeral Home in Lewisburg is in charge of arrangements.
Obituary originally published in the June 16, 2014 edition of the West Virginia Daily News.
Father: Fowler Baldwin WELLS
Mother: Living PROCTOR
- Living WELLS
- Living WELLS
- Living WELLS