WELLS, JOE KELTON (1909~2003) Joe Kelton Wells, member of the Texas House of Representatives, was born in Corsicana, Texas on December 15, 1909, to Edwin Forest and Lucy Jessica Carroll Wells. He graduated from Corsicana High School in 1927, and began his career by earning a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Texas, while serving in the Texas House of Representatives. He represented Navarro County from 1933 to 1936 and was an advisor and confidant to Governor Allan Shivers. Joe was honored in 1999 by Speaker James E. "Pete" Laney as the senior member of the House of Representatives and as the only surviving member of the 44th Legislature.
After leaving the House of Representatives he became the General Counsel and Chief of Insurance for the Texas Employment Commission and served in that capacity for 20 years. Never content to sit on the sidelines, Joe entered the banking business in 1956 as Vice-President and Assistant to the President of Austin National Bank. He was gregarious and well loved and was named Austin Jaycee Boss of the Year in 1961.
In 1975 Joe became a valued member of the Staff of Cook-Walden Funeral Home where he served as Public Relations Director and President of the Cemetery Board. His presence was sorely missed when he retired.
His wife of 62 years, Marjorie, preceded him in death, October 25, 2002. He served as an Elder for the Westminster Presbyterian Church where he and Marjorie were Charter Members. Joe was a member of the first Diaconate.
Another area of his life that was uppermost to him was the Masonic Lodge. He was a member of Lodge No. 12 A.F. & A.M.; Scottish Rite Bodies of Austin, 33 Degree I.G.H.; Ben Hur Shrine Temple, Potentate in 1956; York Rite Bodies, Knight Templar; member and Past Director of the Royal Order of Jesters, Austin Court #35; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ben Hur Shrine; and Past President and member of Ben Hur Shrine Chanters.
Joe was a tireless public servant as evidenced by his participation in many civic activities. He was a past president and life member of the Texas Lung Association and on the Board of Directors of the American Lung Association. He was proud to have been associated with the Austin Chamber of Commerce and was its president in 1963. Active in the Austin Aqua Festival since its conception, he was Commodore in 1967, President in 1968, and a member of the Admirals Club. He was also a member of the Exchange Club for many years.
Representative Wells died on July 5, 2003, and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery three days later. He is survived by his son, Joe K. Wells, Jr., and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Information taken from: obituary, Monday, July 7, 2003, Austin American-Statesman and "Former lawmaker served governor and community," Austin American-Statesman, Monday, July 7, 2003.