Obituary: James Howard Wells


Provided by the family of James H. Wells

June 20, 1932 – March 14, 2023 Bosque Farms, NM 

James Howard Wells, died after a brief illness at his home in Bosque Farms, NM. Born in Howe, TX., the son of Howard and Vallie Wells, James graduated from Frenship HS class of 1949. He then attended and graduated from Texas Tech and UT at Austin garnering a BS, MS and a PhD in Mathematics. In 1953 he married his sweetheart Dorothy Lambert and they were blessed with two children Greg and Valerie. Professor Wells professional career began with the US Army at the White Sands Proving Ground in NM, where he tested rocket trajectories with a slide ruler. This then was followed by a position with Boeing in Seattle, WA. Dr Wells then attained the positions of Assistant Professor at Chapel Hill, NC, UC Berkeley and the University of KY respectively. He became a full professor at UK in 1968-2004, becoming the Chair of the Mathematics Dept from 1969-1972, and 1989-1992, and also the Chair for the Computer Science Dept from 1982-1986. He was a member of the American Mathematical Society. Professor Wells was prolific in Mathematical publications during his career and a major contributor to the formation of nationally recognized Mathematics and Computer Science programs within the University of Kentucky. Jim enjoyed the challenges of his chosen profession, the friendships of his colleagues, and the successes of his students. He was a man of keen intelligence, wit, and set a high bar of ethics. He led by example, a true role model to all who knew him.

Following retirement, he and his wife Dorothy of 69 years enjoyed traveling domestically and internationally with their friends. More recently, the couple relocated to sunnier skies in New Mexico where he relished being a ” Gentleman Farmer”. He is preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Vallie Wells and brother Donald. He is survived by his wife Dorothy Wells, daughter Valerie Wells, son Howard Gregory Wells, daughter-in-law Robynn Wells and grandson, Alex Wells. The Wells family would like to request that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to :

The University of Kentucky
Office of Philanthropy
“Dr. James H. Wells Student Award in Mathematics Fund”
210 Malabu Drive, Suite 200
Lexington, KY 40502

The preceding was a paid obituary.