Our mother, Genevieve Ardis Wells left us on July 31, 2017 to rejoin our dad, her parents, brothers and sisters and many others she loved during her long life.
She was born in Shawano, WI on October 3rd 1927 to John and Elba Hafferman. She spent her early childhood in Shawano but later moved to a dairy farm near Bowler, WI. Being the oldest daughter of seven children, much of the cooking for the family fell to her and it developed in her a lifelong love of cooking and baking for family and friends.
An independent spirit, she graduated from high school by the age of sixteen and got a job as a telephone operator at the Great Lakes Naval Station during World War II. It was here that she met our father James Wells, a Navy man. They married in 1951 and remained in Illinois for a few years while he attended college and got his first civilian job. They moved to Iola, WI to be closer to family when he found a job there. Three of her four children were born before our parents moved the family to Iran for our father’s work.
The family travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and Europe, adding one more of us before returning to the US to live. Although Mom loved the excitement of travel and new places, she tired of rented homes and company-provided furniture and yearned for a home of her own. Dad promised her that and kept that promise in Cortez, CO. Mom loved Colorado like a native; the mountains, the aspens- especially in fall color around her birthday, the rushing rivers and natural wilderness all made her happy and at peace. She loved her home and her family and she worked hard as a homemaker to provide for us all. She was a Girl Scout leader for many years.
Her culinary skills, well know and appreciated by family and friends, were confirmed by her many blue ribbons and her several Pinto Bean Queen titles.
She loved to bake and expressed her love for us all through her always-full cookie jar and prodigious amounts of treats. No meal was complete without a home made dessert and her home baked Christmas gifts were anticipated and loved by her friends and family.
Her courage was tested when our father died in 1977 and she was left alone to raise the youngest of us. She worked hard at many jobs to provide for us still at home, then supported us as we grew up, married and had children.
She was fiercely independent. She lived life on her terms, and as exasperating as that independence could seem to us sometimes, there was in all of us a grudging admiration for this woman who managed to hold onto that independence to the end. It was an essential part of who she was. We were blessed to have her as a mother.
She is survived by her four children Jennifer Wells, Jeffrey Wells (Shannon), Jacqueline Harvey (Rex), and Jamie Wells (Michael McGinnis), sister Alice Alfheim (Gerald), brother Kenneth Hafferman (Ruth), former sister-in-law Marcella Hafferman, grandchildren Matthew Wells, Adam Harvey, Bryan Wells and Megan Harvey, and great grandson Brayton Harvey.
She is preceded in death by her husband James B. Wells, her parents, John and Elba Hafferman, brothers Donald (Maralda), Lester and Roland Hafferman, sister Mavis (Richard) Wells and son-in-law Philip Katz.