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Former senior CIA deputy director, William "Bill" Wells, 88, died April 6, 2013 of natural causes at his home in Bethesda, MD.
Raised in Rochester, NY, he was attending Yale at the start of WW2 but was diverted to study Chinese language at the University of Pennsylvania, and was later assigned as a U.S. military liaison to the Chinese military police on the Burma Road. After the war he graduated from Yale, joined Standard Oil to return to China, and in October 1948, married Leilani (his future wife of 59 years) in Nanjing. In 1952, he started work for the CIA and began a long and successful "China watcher" career, with overseas postings in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong. He retired in 1977, and began a second career as a real estate broker in Bethesda.
He is survived by sons Tryon and Christopher, daughter Letitia, and four grandchildren. Funeral services will be private. Contributions may be made to Montgomery Hospice, in Rockville, MD.

Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 9, 2013