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In Memory . . . Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells (1930-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Unitarian Universalist Association is sad to report the death of the Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells. Wells, 76, died at home on November 8, 2006.

Clarke Wells was a graduate of the University of Chicago and Meadville Lombard Theological School, and was ordained in 1956 and served actively in ministry over fifty years in Oklahoma City; Cincinnati, OH; Portland, OR and Newton, MA. As interim minister he served churches in Bloomington and Muncie IN, Houston, TX, Santa Barbara, Santa Paula and San Luis Obispo, CA; Youngstown, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, and Asheville, NC. He also served in Lakeland, FL where he was named Minister Emeritus. Author of four books of poetry and well-known essays, Dr. Wells' reputation as a dynamic preacher and an excellent teacher led to many requests for these services following his retirement in 1995. 

Wells served on the Board of Trustees for Meadville Lombard and as adjunct faculty and chaplain. He was a Special Lecturer at Starr King School (Berkeley). In 1977 he was chosen to give the sermon at the Service of the Living Tradition at the General Assembly of the UUA. He also served as a member of the first UUA Commission on Appraisal, the Commission on the Free Church and the Commission on Common Worship. He served as Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (following merger of Unitarians and Universalists in 1961).

Dr. Wells taught classes in poetry, creative writing and the works of William Shakespeare. An avid athlete, he played football in high school and undergraduate school; he was an enthusiastic snorkeler, handball, and tennis player. 

During the Civil Rights years Clarke Wells was an activist; he was among ministers who went to Selma to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965. Dr. Wells was with his colleague, James Reeb, and his wife, Marie, at a hospital in Birmingham, AL when Rev. Reeb (also a Unitarian minister) died after being attacked while participating in the struggle for Civil Rights.

Dr. Wells is survived by his sons, Jared St. John Wells of Tucson, AZ and Garde MacKenzie Wells of Eugene, OR as well as his wife and companion, Barbara Carlson of Bloomington, IN.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2006, 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, IN, the Rev. Barbara Carlson officiating.

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