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Malcolm Wells

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Malcolm Wells Obituary
WELLS, Malcolm In the early 1970s when Malcolm Wells appeared as a contestant on the then popular, television game show, To Tell The Truth, it wasn't as the "father of modern earth-sheltered architecture", as he has since come to be known; it was as an architect, with what then, was an unusual idea - that the roofs of all buildings should be made habitable for both animals, and plants. Today, some forty years later, the ideas of earth-sheltering, green-roofs & underground architecture, or "Gentle Architecture", as Malcolm pronounced it, are increasingly commonplace. For Mac and for the planet he cared so deeply about, let us all hope that they continue to be. Malcolm, or Mac, as he was well known by his friends, family & associates, was born on March 11th, 1926 in Camden, New Jersey; the son of John D. & Marguerite K. Wells. Mac's older brother Jack, whom he credited for much of his ability, was killed on a motor scooter in 1950, at the age of 29. Mac's younger sister Mimi died of lung cancer, in 1986 at the age of 58. Mac's first wife of 35 years, Shirley Ruth Dorkin, died earlier this year at the age of 80. After a long struggle with congestive heart failure, Mac died at his home, in Brewster, Massachusetts on November 27th. He was 83. Promoting his ideals until failing health dictated otherwise, Malcolm Wells, via hand-written notes, kept his message & thoughts alive in a heartfelt, often humorous, way; with his family, and throughout the architectural & environmental community. As for the panel of guest celebrities on To Tell The Truth; they all correctly identified Mac on the first round; Malcolm Wells was an original, and there was just no way to conceal it. Malcolm Wells is survived by his second wife, of 25 years, Karen North Wells, an artist who still operates the underground art gallery they built on Cape Cod. In addition, Mac is survived by his three children from his first marriage: Kappy Wells of Santa Fe, NM, John Wells of Harleysville, PA & Sam Wells of Petaluma, CA - along with his two step children: Jonathan Kelly of Wellfleet, MA & Kirsten Engstrom of Bedford, NH. Together, Mac & Karen have seven grandchildren. A gathering to remember Mac will be held at 2:00 PM on May 8th, 2010 at the First Parish Brewster Church.To post an online condolence or for more information, visit:

Published in Courier-Post on Dec. 6, 2009
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