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Richard "Dick" Wells

Richard “Dick” Wells, 95, died peacefully on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 in Urbana, Illinois. Born near Petrolia, Illinois on February 24, 1925 and brought up in the midst of the Great Depression, Dick married Elizabeth Ann Foss in 1947 and raised three daughters: Dorene, Merry Sharon and Melinda. In 1967, he married his forever partner, Dr. Patricia Fichthorn Day, and became father to Larry, Sheila, Valerie and Bob. 
 
A member of UA Local 149 for 72 years, Dick retired in the nineties after more than 30 years working as a welder at the University of Illinois. Prior to moving to Champaign County, he traveled the U.S. finding work wherever he could, including stints in Chicago, Denver, California, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan. 
 
After meeting and marrying Pat, the two made their home in southern Champaign County and built a working farm breeding and raising show goats, horses, livestock and poultry. In the late eighties, Dick and Pat purchased a second home in Haines City, Florida and spent their winters there until 2004. The farm remained home until 2017, when the two moved together to Urbana.
 
A born storyteller, Dick would bend your ear for as long as you’d let him (maybe longer). If he wasn’t regaling the grandkids with the story of Br’er Rabbit or bouncing them on his knee singing Froggy Went A-Courtin’, he was outside on a tractor or having a whisky in his glass-bottomed pewter mug.

When Dick was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2004, he told his family not to worry, he was going to live to be a hundred. Eventually unable to work around the farm as much as he once had, Dick could still clear the walking path for his daily walk in the woods, and so he did until selling the farm in 2017.
 
From a boy whose family couldn’t afford shoes for his feet to a skilled laborer who helped build downtown Chicago as we know it today, Dick was never afraid of hard work and preached the value of gaining an education and learning a trade. He will be remembered for his big laugh, tall tales and generous spirit.
 
Dick was preceded in death by his son, Robert “Bob” Wells, his sisters, Lauribel and Maxine, and his brother, Wilbur. He is survived by his wife, Pat, and children Dorene (Mike) Allis of Effingham, Merry Sharon (Allen) Satterfield of Champaign, Melinda (Frank) Mabry of Maryland, Larry (Christine) Wells of Sadorus, Sheila Raila of Champaign, and Valerie (Steven) Skaperdas of Champaign. He will be remembered with love by his grandchildren, Samantha Toral, Rex Shaw, Tony (Lisa) Shaw, Lisa (Christopher) Young, Brian (Afsaneh Mohimi) Bialeschki, Rachel Bialeschki, Sarah (John Dixon) Foss, Jesse Day, Brandon Satterfield, Wesley Johnson, Jonathon Jackson, Joseph Jackson, Gretchen Raila, Thomas (Carissa) Hodis, Lance Corporal of USMC Katherina Wells and Victoria Wells, as well as his 11 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren. 
 
Dick’s family is tremendously grateful for the grace shown and care given by the staff at Amber Glen in Urbana, especially throughout this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.

In lieu of funeral services or flowers, please plant a tree in Dick’s honor, donate to nationalforests.org to replant trees on public lands, and/or send his family a favorite memory of him: [email protected].

Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm, Champaign, is assisting the family with arrangements. 

Online condolences to the Wells family may be offered at www.heathandvaughn.com.