Richard Almon Wells
HATFIELD, MA — Richard Almon Wells, 79, of Hatfield, passed away peacefully on the 14th of October 2021, with his loving wife of 60 years, Virginia Lucille (Martin) Wells by his side.
Richard ("Dick", or "Dee' to family) was born on September 20, 1942, to Francis Richard Wells and Helen Marion Howes in Northampton, Massachusetts. He married his high school sweetheart, Virginia "Polly" Martin on February 2nd, 1962. They raised three sons: Barry Russell of York, Pennsylvania, Brian Richard of Roanoke, Virginia, and Bruce Robert of Standfordville, NY.
Dick graduated from Dalton High School (now Waconah Regional) in 1960 and obtained his associate degree in Animal Science from Stockbridge School of Agriculture in 1962.
Dick had jobs delivering oil and delivering/spreading liquid fertilizer in Western Mass, Northern Connecticut, and Vermont. His vehicle-based jobs complimented Dick's love for long scenic rides on back country roads. One of Dick's specialties was operating the AgriTurf "Big Wheels" liquid fertilizer vehicle, which never failed to turn heads. Dick was one of only a few operators of this impressive machine, which he occasionally drove in local parades.
In addition to his full-time job, Dick operated his own small farm with his wife and sons. At one time or other, he raised chickens, turkeys, cattle, and pigs, and grew sweet corn, popcorn, Indian corn, gourds, and cucumbers, and maintained a sizable family garden. He kept ties to his hometown of Cummington through the ancestral farm, Maple East Farm, which has remained in the Wells family since 1864.
During retirement, Dick kept himself busy running a pallet repair business and working on his cousins' Christmas tree farm bailing trees each winter season. Also known as the "Master Candy Maker", Dick lovingly prepared his homemade maple pralines for all his family each and every Christmas.
Dick was an avid birder. This life-long passion was instilled by his father and shared by his wife. Dick was also a lifetime Yankees fan; the source of much affectionate banter amongst all three children, their spouses, and the extended family. But at least he liked the Patriots!
Dick had an infectious sense of humor and youthful playfulness, both verbal and physical. His children fondly remember rough-housing with him and playing keep-away with a bean-bag pig that he pretended to desperately need. The tradition was passed down to his grandchildren, who mercilessly "tormented" him with a never-ending game of "Steal Grampa's Hat". And he always wore a hat.
He is survived by his beloved wife Polly with whom he had been inseparable since junior high school; children Barry Russell (wife-Audrey), Brian Richard (wife-Sherrene), and Bruce Robert (wife-Deborah); grandchildren Cameron, Patrick, Jordan, and Tania; great-granddaughter Elizabeth; siblings Linda Sears of Falls Church, VA, Kathy Wells of Mechanicsburg, PA, and Paul Wells of Kennebunk, ME. He was predeceased by his mother Helen, father Francis, and brother Phillip Wells.
A visitation will be held at Ahearn Funeral Home (783 Bridge Rd, Northampton, MA) from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on October 29. Burial will occur at 11:00 a.m. on October 30 at Dawes Cemetery on Potash Hill Road in Cummington, MA.
Flowers are welcome, and so is a donation to Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice.
So many wonderful people have helped the family through this difficult time. The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Linda Manor, where Dick and Polly have resided since July 2021, to Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice, specifically Sarah Killion and Brian Reilly, for their compassion, communication, and advocacy, and Sharon Connor and the staff at Choices Elder Support, without whom we could never have achieved Dick's wish to stay at his Hatfield home for as long as possible.
Ahearn Funeral Home
Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on Oct. 23, 2021.