Ralph E. Wells, age 87, of Jackson, CA, passed away Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Lodi, CA with his family by his side. Ralph was born in Pasadena, CA on September 22, 1932, a son of the late Bryon E. Wells and Martha Waiva (Kemp) Wells.
Ralph began his career with the California Fish & Game, and then later established his own pest control business which he owned and operated in Sacramento for many years. After selling his business, he moved to Jackson in 1974, where in later years, he was a substitute teacher at Jackson High School and a teacher at Preston Reform School in Ione, CA.
Above all, those that knew and loved him think first of his passion and enthusiasm for life. Ralph was a force of nature, bigger than life, and unforgettable. His high school science teacher instilled in him a lifelong interest in nature. He became an avid butterfly collector, which led him to remote areas throughout the western U.S., Mexico and Central America. Not limited to butterflies, his interests extended to hunting, bird watching, insects and moths. Remembering the impact his teacher had on his life, Ralph mentored several young people in their entomology journeys, and shared his collections with the children in his community through activities at the library and schools. His home office was filled with natural artifacts found during his decades of travels – arrowheads, insects, rattlesnake rattles, animal skeletons, petrified wood (to name just a few), and entering was an adventure for adults and children alike. He was dearly loved, and will be sorely missed.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Barbara Wells of Jackson; daughter, Waiva Brown (Hugh Brown) of Glen Allen, VA; daughter, Stefanie Smith (Brad Boyer) of South Pasadena, CA; son, Greg Smith of St Thomas, US Virgin Islands; brother, Duane Wells of Ukiah, CA; many loving nieces and nephews; 8 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his 9-year-old son, Jeffery Wells.
Family and friends are invited to a funeral service on Saturday, November 23, 2019, 1:00 P.M. at Daneri Mortuary, 415 Broadway, Jackson, CA. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Sutter Amador Hospital for the creation of a Butterfly Garden in Ralph’s memory, (which may be made payable to Sutter Amador Hospital Foundation with memo notated Ralph Wells Butterfly Garden and mailed to: Sutter Amador Hospital Foundation, Attn: Philanthropy Dept, 200 Mission Blvd, Jackson, CA 95642; TaxID 94-1156621).