- About Us
William WellsAugust 4, 1924 ~ June 13, 2017 (age 92)
William Miles Wells III of Laurinburg died on June 13, 2017. He was born in 1924 in Wilson, North Carolina, the oldest son of William Miles Wells, Jr. and Ruth Deans Wells.
After opting to remain for the twelfth grade, Bill graduated from Charles L. Coon High School in Wilson. He matriculated at Duke University, graduating in 1945 where he claimed to have majored in freshman physics (although his transcript indicated it was sociology) and to have passed the mandatory swimming test only because he assured Coach Eddie Cameron that he did not have a job lifeguarding that summer. He then entered Duke Divinity School, graduating in 1948.
His faith compelled him to service and to seek justice and equality. He joined the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church upon graduation and embarked on his life-long career in the ministry, serving churches throughout the conference. In 1957, he was named State Director of the Methodist Student Movement, a position in which he oversaw the college campus ministries within the state. His office was in Greensboro, and that is where he acquired Gesundheit – the 1964 Volkswagen Beetle that he drove for the next 45 years (who names a car?), where he met Dixie Poe Huske - who he married in 1966, and where the couple’s only child – Dixie Thomas Wells – was born. In 1969, here turned to pastoring local churches. He was also fortunate to have three different experiences ministering to congregations in England. The first, in 1971, was a summer exchange with a minister in Manchester. The second, in 1982-83, was a year-long leave of absence in North Carolina where he became minister to a circuit of churches in Northampton. The third, in 1988, followed his retirement in North Carolina and landed him in Saltburn-by-the Sea. In 2011, he was named pastor emeritus of Saint Luke United Methodist Church in Laurinburg. Wherever he lived, he participated in ecumenical study and worship.
He was a voracious volunteer and was honored in 1995 by the Governor of the State of North Carolina for his service. He was active in a number of different civic groups in the various towns in which he lived. After he resumed retirement in Laurinburg, he devoted himself to doing the things he had enjoyed about the ministry, leaving behind the administrative duties. He volunteered time to serve as a chaplain at the local hospital, to Scots for Youth, to Christmas Cheer, and to Habitat for Humanity. Although he more than kept his promise to Coach Cameron and never worked as a lifeguard, he promoted water safety in a different way. For over twenty-five years, he taught swimming to fourth grade students as part of a county-wide initiative in Scotland County to ensure that every fourth grade student in the public schools has water-safety skills needed to prevent accidental drownings. (He finally decided to give that up at the age of 91.)
He had an off-beat and quick wit. When people mistook him for his daughter’s grandfather, he would often respond, “We decided to have our grandchild first,” leaving many a person baffled.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife. He is survived by his daughter, Dixie T. Wells, her husband, L. Patrick Auld, and their daughter, Zoe, of Greensboro; by his brother, Al Wells, his wife, Margaret, of Ashburn, Virginia, and their children, Allyson (Hughes) Bakewell, Brenda Crafton, and Sylvia (Mark) Chmelko, and their combined eight children.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the North Carolina Council of Churches, 27 Horne St., Raleigh, NC 27607, or to Saint Luke United Methodist Church, 1501 Turnpike Rd., Laurinburg, NC 28352, or that an act of service be done in his memory.
The funeral will be at Saint Luke United Methodist Church on Thursday, June 15, at 2:00 pm.The family will receive visitors at Scotia Village Presbyterian Retirement Community, 2200 Elm Ave., Laurinburg, NC, on Thursday, June 15, between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Burial will be at Maplewood Cemetery in Wilson on Friday, June 16, at 11:00 am.