Leah Wells

Leah Wells
1932 - 2014
Leah, age 81 ½, passed away peacefully at a local care center with her family by her side on Friday, January 24, 2014.
Leah June Jensen Wells was born the third daughter to Clara and Lance Jensen on June 26, 1932 in Alliance, Nebraska. Moving to Idaho during the Great Depression, she grew up in New Plymouth and Fruitland, Idaho. She loved working outside with her father on his dairy farm. She graduated from Fruitland High School in 1950, where she was Apple Blossom Queen and cheerleader. She attended college in Lewiston, Idaho, and then transferred to the University of Idaho, studying Music (voice) and English, and graduating in 1954. She was crowned both Miss Lewiston, as well as homecoming queen while at the U of I. In 1951, she was second runner up in the Miss Idaho pageant, where she competed for scholarships.
She met Robert Wells while attending the University of Idaho. They met over jelly beans in the Vandaleers choir. After four years of correspondence by mail and a four-day engagement, they eloped in Reno on August 12, 1958 after Robert completed his education at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. They traveled around the world while he was in the Navy and had two children in the states, and two overseas. They had many adventures and travels together, although he was out at sea about 5 ½ of their 13 ½ years of marriage. Tragically, Robert died by suicide in February, 1972 in England, leaving behind four young children and a heartbroken widow.
In the midst of her grief, Leah made sure that the children's new puppy, Spicy, came along to help the children maintain some sense of stability; a blessing to her children and a loved family member for 16 years.
She moved her family back to the states, living first in Ann Arbor, Michigan for about a year, and then choosing to move closer to her family in Idaho, raising her four children in Caldwell, Idaho.
She taught both English and music for many years - from Stockton, California; to Springfield, Oregon; to Punahou in Hawaii; to Istanbul, Turkey; and finally, in the Caldwell school district where she taught elementary music for 15 years until her retirement in 1995. She also taught private voice lessons, and both directed the choir and was an organist at Grace Lutheran Church. Still, she always said that her favorite job was being a stewardess for United Airlines in the 1950s.
Her great gift of music was her love and joy in her life. Her voice was angelic, and she shared it with many choirs including Grace Lutheran Church, the Boise Master Chorale, and many others.
Leah will always be remembered for being a true lady. She was gracious, strong, hard-working, loving, kind, giving, and encouraging to her children to be the same.
She loved the movies…having had movie star scrapbooks from the time she was a young girl; traveling…her trip to Australia and New Zealand after retiring was one of her favorite trips; and games…from Scrabble to Bingo.
She fought a long and very courageous battle with dementia in her later years as well as suffering many falls and multiple strokes, yet, her amazing bravery and strength truly never left her.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her two sisters, and her husband. She is survived by her four children - daughters Tamara (Bill) Mahn, Kristen (Dana) Kauffman, Robyn (Mark) McDonnell, and son Lance Wells, as well as her five grandchildren - Allison and Timothy Mahn; and Cameron, Caleb, and Coleby Kauffman. Her lifelong friend Donna VanLeuven also survives her, as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends. Her family wants to express their thanks to Spring Creek in Meridian for their years of care, Life Care of Treasure Valley for helping her navigate a difficult road in her final months, and First Choice Home Health & Hospice for their loving care in her final days. Services and a celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, February 8th, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell, Idaho. Reception and celebration will follow. In Leah's memory, please wear blue. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to Nampa Musicale (a scholarship will be set up in her name - please contact and send donations to c/o Deanna Beames, Nampa Musicale, 2001 W. Bear Creek Dr., Nampa, ID 83686), Caldwell Fine Arts, The Lighthouse Rescue Mission in Nampa, or Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell.
Please share your memories about Leah online at www.cloverdalefuneralhome.com.

Funeral Home

Cloverdale Funeral Home
1200 North Cloverdale Road Boise, ID 83713
(208) 375-2212

Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Feb. 2, 2014