R.I.P. Mark V. Wells 05/15/1918 - 09/25/1008
Posted in the La Veta Forum
#1 Sep 26, 2008
Yesterday, a great American cowboy, quite possibly the last REAL cowboy, passed away.
Born May 15, 1918, in Rouse Colorado, Mark Victor Wells was born on a ranch in Turkey Creek. He attended school until the 8th grade. He lived in a cow camp, just
South of Walsenburg, breaking horses, working cattle drives, and round ups. When he left there, he worked for the Hatchett Cattle Company breaking horses, and playing
cowboy. He served his country for 4 years, in the United States Army, serving in Alaska, and Germany during WWII. He later met Ofelia Ward, of La Veta, Colorado, and
the two were married. They made their home on the Wells Ranch, just East of Walsengburg. He became a father of four children: Toni, Mary, Mark Jr (Bud), and Merle,
as he often called his Quattro. Life on the ranch consisted of raising cattle. He also drove the bus for the Huerfano RE-1 school district for 30 years. Mark often helped
other ranchers when needed, he was a horse trail leader, involved with 4-H, and was a rodeo clown.
Some may even know him by the wood carvings he created, and sold. An avid wood carver, he started carving when he was just 6 or 7 years old. He sculpted a totem pole, the
Lords last supper, the famous 'cowboy in the bathtub', Noah's Ark, and many many others. He has won numerous awards for his carvings, and has been featured in many
magazines for his wood carving accomplishments. He also loved to paint with his canvas and oil paints. For those who are lucky enough to own one of his paintings, or those
who have seen his paintings know the pure beauty of his work.
#2 Sep 26, 2008
He loved wearing his cowboy boots and blue jeans, his black cowboy hat, and black scarf. He would say about boots: "you could stomp a snakes eye out with those boots".
And of course, he loved his shot of Jim Beam every once in a while. "You aint a kiddin" he would tell us. For being 90 years old, he retained so much of his memory.
Telling not only myself, but to any who wanted hear, his stories of the way he grew up, and how things used to be. Listening to what he had to say, one could get wrapped up
or lost in his words. He had a way of taking you back in time with him, for most of us, they were stories before we were even born. I would set in awe at the things he has
seen, and the way of life that he lived, that you only see in old cowboy movies on tv. Looking at, and listening to this man, you would marvel at his very existance. To know
that it was men like him, who help start these little towns that we are now proud to call our home. To hear how much life has changed around him, is hard for one to
imagine, but you know it happened. Even down to this very computer I am on right now - he couldn't understand it. He called it,'that machine'.
Set in his way, he was, as I am sure most cowboys were. But I am sure it was those ways that got him to be 90 years old.
I just, this year, got to meet Mark, and soon after, begain to care for him in my home. Never, in any dream could I imagine how close I was going to get to him, and how much
this man would creep into my heart. Never would I have thought I would become so attatched to him. He still attended the rodeo's, and local parades. He kept a watchful eye
over his grandchildren, lecturing them when he saw fit, but always watching them. Always wanting to know what his grandchildren were doing, and what friends they were
hanging out with. He had friends that came to see him regularly, from the ages of 12 up to 80. All the kids adored, admired, and respected him. He could keep up with the
best of them; My father was visiting in August, and he is just 56 years old. Mark never missed a beat - outside talking shit, having a beer, laughing, and telling those
wonderful, fascinating stories, that even my Dad would get caught up in. You know, he was just out on my back porch,(at 90 years old), and showing us how to do a
California Twist with his rope. He would dance with in the kitchen while I was trying to cook supper, he would just grad ahold of my hand, and dance. He would tell Merle
that I was his girlfriend now, and he would speak of how much he loved not only me, but all of us.
Mark fought for many years with COPD, as most people know. He was on oxygen for quite some time. About a month ago, Mark came down with double pnuemonia. After a
week stay in the hospital he got to come back home. A week ago, I noticed something was again wrong with him. The Dr. said he was fine, just getting over the 'hump' of a
possible virus. He had a few good days, but continued to struggle. This past Saturday morning, Mark told us he was ready to go home. Thursday afternoon, he got to make
his journey home,..back with his wife, who had past away 12 years ealier. Thursday afternoon I lost my Cowboy.
Mark meant so much to me, he was my everything. He was my dearest best friend, my Dad, my cowboy,...he was, and forever will be,.........my heart.
This man has touched my childrens life, and mine so much more than we could have ever hoped or prayed for. Mark will never be further away than a thought, he'll be
closer than a heartbeat, and loved more than most, by many. He was truely an "angel flying to close to the ground".
R.I.P. Mark/Dad/My Cowboy ~~~~~ We love you!
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