Rancho Bernardo civic leader Bob Wells dies
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Longtime Rancho Bernardo civic leader and RB Hall of Fame inductee Bob Wells died Sunday due to complications after surgery.
Wells, 84, was among founders of many Rancho Bernardo organizations and annual events. His efforts began soon after he and wife, Darlene, moved to RB in the ‘80s, according to longtime friend Larry McIntyre.
Wells’ first leadership position in RB was at the Rancho Bernardo Chamber of Commerce, where he was executive director from 1988 to 1992. During that time the group’s membership doubled and the Rancho Bernardo Thanksgiving Luncheon and Rancho Bernardo Honorary Mayor contest began. In 1997, Wells was named RB Honorary Mayor after raising the most money among that year’s candidates.
He was among founders of the Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation, which has made the Thanksgiving luncheon one of its major fundraisers, started RB’s endowment fund that now exceeds $1 million and in 1993 created the Pathway of Pride in Webb Park, another foundation fundraising opportunity.
Among Wells’ other community involvements were membership in the Rancho Bernardo “Noon” Rotary Club, of which he was a past-president; president of Los Rios Homeowners Association; past president and board member of Bernardo Heights Homeowners Association; and Rancho Bernardo Community Council member. In 1992, 1993 and 1998 Wells served as president of the Rancho Bernardo Spirit of the Fourth committee.
For his community leadership, Wells was elected to the Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame in 1993. For the past two years he coordinated the hall of fame’s induction gala.
Six years ago Wells was among those who founded the Rancho Bernardo Business Association. He was its current treasurer and organized the rubber ducky race for Rancho Bernardo’s 50th birthday party last Saturday.
“Bob was my good friend as well as my mentor,” McIntyre said, who was friends with Wells for more than two decades. “I learned so much from Bob. He was loaded with ideas. I swear he stayed awake at night thinking of projects for me to do. … (We) realized that we could really become this little team working on all kinds of community projects. Bob was a master in making use of a person’s talents.
“Bob will be remembered by his many friends as a good and loving family man,” McIntyre added. “A man who was a great leader and pillar of the community whose efforts will be a part of Rancho Bernardo for many years to come. He was Mr. RB and I will miss him dearly.”
Karen Stelman, who knew Wells through Rotary and business, said they worked together on Rotary projects for 22 years and he helped get her husband, Mike, into the club.
Stelman said for more than 20 years she and Wells went to lunch to celebrate their birthdays, which were a day apart. Their lunch was set for Monday. Wells’ birthday would have been on Sept. 30.
“He said (things) like it was, which sometimes got him into trouble,” Stelman said. “But he was very candid with his thoughts and loved the community of Rancho Bernardo. He was always thinking of ways to help the community and give back to the community.”
Wells, a Minnesota native, moved with his family to Chicago as a teenager and graduated from Wheaton College, McIntyre said. After a brief stint in the Navy, Wells moved to Los Angeles in 1949 and sold automobiles. A couple of years later, he was hired by the 3M Company to sell Scotch tape. He later worked in the company’s business equipment division and promoted to management. His career with 3M took him back to Chicago for several years before transferring to the Bay Area, where he remained until retirement.
Wells’ survivors include his wife, daughter, son and four grandchildren.
Services are pending.
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