Larry Jay Wells passed away unexpectedly at his home in Owatonna on November 30, 2020.
Left to cherish his memory are Betty Lou (Glienke) Wells, his wife and best friend of more than thirty-three years; his daughter, Johanna Farmer and one grandson, Gavin Farmer.
Larry was born in Bemidji, Minnesota on January 13, 1956, the fifth of eight children born to Arthur and Dorothy (Magoon) Wells and is also survived by his siblings: Jack Wells and his significant other Mary Ann (Michigamme, MI), Ron and Theresa Wells (Akeley), Kenneth and Mary Wells (Elk River), Richard Wells and his significant other Suzanne (Marinette, WI), Jerry Wells and his significant other, Debbie (Akeley), and his beloved little sister, Judi Wells (Glendale, AZ); and by siblings-in-law: Bernice and Bob Stompoly (Lexington, MO), Martha (Marty) Lawson (Hector), Gary and Diane Glienke (Faribault), and Carl and Rose Glienke (Blooming Prairie); as well as by dozens of nieces and nephews in both the Wells and Glienke families. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Dorothy, his sister Linda Wells, and his father and mother-in-law, Gerhardt and Evelyn Glienke.
Larry was blessed to have many valued friends over his life, including life-long friends Jim and Carol Glidden and Ed Fairbanks and his wife, Joyce (all of Bemidji), Larry’s close friend and hunting buddy, Mike Keller and his wife, Jane (Medford), and his church community at Christ Community Covenant Church in Owatonna.
Growing up in Cass Lake, Larry developed a deep love for hunting, fishing, and spending his time outdoors. As a youth, Larry worked at the family café and at the local fishing resorts, the latter being where he perfected his legendary fish-cleaning skills, a talent that he would use throughout his entire life. Larry attended Cass Lake-Bena High School where he was both a wrestler and a member of the football team before graduating in 1974.
After attending classes at Staples Area Vocational Technical Institute, Larry began a long and successful career in Equipment Layout and Design Drafting working at Truth Inc., 25 years at the King Company (both in Owatonna), Hormel Foods in Austin, and the last 10 years of his career at Evapco, Inc. of Medford, MN before retiring in January 2015.
Larry was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, exploring, and even pulling buckthorn.
Larry was a tinkerer, and could fix just about anything. Larry was a talented woodworker and could expertly build nearly any project, from shelves to beds to fine cabinetry. And when the project was complete, it wasn’t just complete, it was said to be Wellzerized which means it could stand up to the strongest natural disasters with nary a scratch.
Larry was an unassuming gentleman in the truest sense of the word. In a world of escalation and self-centeredness, Larry was an oasis of kindness, civility, and courtesy. This is likely why he was well-liked by so many people and never met a stranger. He never swore or said a harsh word about anyone. He was a good friend who would drop whatever he was doing at a moment’s notice to help anyone.
Most impressive of all was how Larry gave – genuinely, freely, and without thought of return. He gave his time. He gave his talent. He gave love, patience, and guidance. Larry gave because he understood the impact of giving doesn’t end with the act itself, but rather that the act of giving is simply the beginning of better. Better people. A better life. A better world.
He was always available to his family, friends, neighbors, and his community alike. He gave as a younger man, serving as a Sunday School teacher and by coaching a 4H girls softball team. Later, he gave by helping to build theatrical sets for the Little Theatre of Owatonna for many years and even had a cameo in the LTO production of Singin’ in the Rain. In fact, Larry’s contributions to the Little Theater were so pronounced, or his on-stage performance was so captivating, that he was ultimately inducted into the LTO Hall of Fame.
He also gave of himself freely to Gavin, his grandson and Johanna, his daughter, and was so vested in each of them.
It says a lot about a person who is loved as much by his in-laws as he is loved by the members of his own family. In fact, Betty often joked that if it ever came down to a choice between claiming Betty or claiming Larry as one of their own, she would come out second best in that competition.
In addition to their home in Owatonna, for many years, Larry and Betty enjoyed their small cabin at Duck Lake near Mankato, MN, whether reveling in the peace and quiet of a private sanctuary, or braving the hullabaloo that comes along with hosting lots of family members in a relatively small space. Following Larry’s retirement in 2015, Larry and Betty began wintering in Sun City, AZ and exploring the surrounding countryside either alone together or with visiting family. Larry and Betty loved to travel the United States and had the great fortune to take an Alaskan cruise, repeated trips to Missouri to visit family and enjoyed planning and taking one of their numerous road trips to explore the USA.
Larry Wells was indeed a great man and though his race is run, his light will continue to illuminate each of our paths. It is up to us to do him honor by using the light he shared with each of us to in turn develop our own light to share with others. In this way, we can assure that the light of this great man will never dim.
A public visitation was held Thursday, December 3, 2020 at Michaelson Funeral Home in Owatonna. The funeral service for Larry was private. View Larry’s service at https://wearelivetoday.com/larry-wells.