Frank K. Wells was Born January 16, 1922, in Rye, N.Y., he was the son of Joseph and Rose (LaRussell) Wells. He had one brother Anthony. In Rye his family lived at 360 Midland Ave and were members of the Church of the Resurrection. Frank was a Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1940.
In high school he was a member of the Fingerprint and Drivers Clubs and played baseball, basketball and football. Frank excelled at academics and sports, especially baseball. A classmate called him the “up and coming Lou Gehrig” in their high school yearbook. Scouted by the Major Leagues, his hopes of a baseball career were interrupted by World War II when he enlisted and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Frank joined the Army Air Corps on November 6, 1942. Schooled in Tupelo, Miss., he went on to become a B-29 bombardier and was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He served overseas with the
73rd Bomb Wing out of Isley Field in Saipan, flew in missions there and the Mariana Islands and achieved the rank of second lieutenant.
The 73d Bomb Wing was the first B-29 wing to be assigned to the Marianas, and the first B-29 of the 497th Bomb Group arrived at Isely Field, Saipan on 12 October 1944. The 498th arrived shortly after, with the 499th and 500th Bomb Groups arriving in early November. By 22 November, over 100 Boeing B-29 Superfortress's were on Saipan. The XXI Bomber Command was assigned the task of destroying the aircraft industry of Japan in a series of high-altitude, daylight precision attacks.
While on leave, he married Mary Liberati on January 29, 1944, and after he returned from service they settled in Rye, where they built a life and a family. Frank was awarded the American Campaign, WWII Victory, and Asiatic Pacific medals for his service. He was honorably discharged on May 7, 1946.
After the war, Frank taught elementary physical education at Resurrection Grammar School and high school health at Resurrection Academy, where he also coached basketball. Over the years, Frank and Mary Wells welcomed a son and four daughters into the world.
In the 1960s, he took a job with Prudential where he sold insurance until he retired in 1984. In his free time, he coached CYO basketball, was active for more than two decades in local Boy Scouts Troop 1, and he served as a founding member of the Rye Hunter’s Club.
The Wells retired to Fort Pierce, Fla., where Frank’s commitment to community and staying active continued. He served as president of the Spanish Lakes Country Club Village Homeowners Association, was a member of the community’s bocce league, and co-chaired the organizing committee for the community’s “Senior Fitness Games.”
He was an avid player of sports, including softball, tennis, and golf, who helped lead his bocce team to a league championship. His golf game was more than on par — he shot two holes-in-one in his lifetime.
Frank K. Wells, a decorated World War II veteran, died April 7, 2020, in Fairfield, Conn. He was 98. His wife died in 1996 and in 2014, Frank settled in Fairfield, Conn.
He was survived by his children, Daniel (Elizabeth) Wells of Fishkill, N.Y., Linda of Rye, Kathy Peterson of Bridgeport, Conn., Carolyn Anderson of Denver, and Barbara Wells and her wife, Debra Spross of Fairfield, Conn. He is also survived by six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom called him “Pop Pop”. He was predeceased by his brother, Anthony “Tooby” Wells.
A service in celebration of his life will be held in Rye at a future date.
In remembrance of Frank Wells, his family asks that you consider making a donation to the national Honor Flight Network, whose mission is to transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country. He cherished the experience of taking one of the flights with his brother Tooby, on November 6, 2010 — 68 years to the day he joined the Army Air Corps.