Jacquelyn A. (Barnes) Wells, of Woburn, passed away at her home, surrounded by her family on Friday, January 29. She was 84 years of age.
Born and raised in Woburn in the Newlands area, she was the daughter of the late Elden Ray Barnes and the late Christine (Gaynor) Barnes. “Jackie,” as she was known to family and friends, was the beloved wife of Joseph F. Wells.
Jackie attended St. Charles Borromeo High School, where she made many lifelong friends with whom she enjoyed the yearly class reunions. Stopping to purchase some gas, she met Joe Wells, then working at his father’s Winn Street Texaco gas station. They were married for over sixty years.
John, their eldest child, was born while Joe was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Returning to Woburn, they proceeded to have seven more children — and each one of her eight children was their mother’s favorite —all of whom attended St. Charles School since Jackie wanted her children to value education and their faith as much as she did. One of the most important beliefs Jackie instilled in her children was that they could do anything: they made sure to prove their mother right.
Books and reading were important to Jackie: each night, she read to her children, which also may have been the only time of day she had a chance to sit while raising her large family. There were weekly trips to the Woburn Public Library and many (often overdue) books at the Wells house as well as many picnics after visits to local historical places in the area.
In 1976, when the country was celebrating the Bicentennial, Joe, Jackie, and their brood —ranging in ages from 4 to 17 —got into a pickup truck with a camper in tow and traveled across the United States and back in six weeks. Only the most devoted wife and mother would have signed on for that trip and the many others that followed.
When her children were older, Jackie returned to work as a secretary at the Goodyear School; and later at the Malcolm White School, where the students became her second family. Jackie frequently purchased hats and mittens for the students since she could never bear to see a child without them.
Jackie showed great faith that the Lord would protect her family. Even during sickness and the loss of family members, Jackie’s faith carried her and her family through sad times. A statue of the Blessed Mother had a place of honor in the Wells’ home, and Jackie was never without a rosary; the list of people she prayed for was extensive.
As her children married, the in-laws were welcomed whole-heartedly. As one son-law said, “She was the best mother-in-law anyone could have.” The birth of each grandchild meant more children to love. Grandkids, like their parents, aunts, and uncles before them, always knew Grammy was at a school event, game, or graduation because she was the lady with a sign celebrating that grandchild taped to an outrageous hat and carrying an even larger decorated poster. (Jackie and her signs are the reason that signs are now banned at Carnegie Hall after a particularly exuberant medical school graduation.) Grammy hosted granddaughter dinners, rosary sessions for all the grandchildren and frequently gave them memorable presents that will never be forgotten, but mostly she gave of herself.
Jackie was the beloved wife of Joseph F. Wells and devoted mother of Drs. John M. Wells and his wife Denise; Cathleen Rowland and her husband Patrick; Dr. Kenneth Wells and his partner Mark Gelsinger; Jacquelyn Miller and her partner William T. Frank III, the late Bruce R. Miller; Brenda Wells and her husband Sean Crowley; Karen Wells and her husband Andrew Canning; Jane Murray and her husband Jerry; and Joseph M. Wells and his wife Heather. She was the Adoring and adored grandmother to Timothy, Kevin, and Rachel Wells; Rebecca, John and his wife Katie, Kara and Michael, and the late Andrew and the late Matthew Rowland; Shealagh and Cameron Crowley; Katherine and Christine Murray; and Jacob and Jillian Wells. In 2018, the birth of John and Katie's daughter, Emma Jean Rowland, made her a Great Grand Mother. Jackie was also the loving sister of Roger Barnes and his wife Barbara; and thoughtful sister-in-law and caring aunt to many nieces and nephews. Jackie was preceded in death by her sisters Mary Dirago and her husband Joseph, Helen Masotta, Josephine Barnes, and brothers George E. Barnes and Clyde (Chickee) Barnes.
Jackie wished all that knew her to remember her by offering up a prayer as you recall your favorite memory of her. A Funeral Mass for Jackie will be celebrated at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 280 Main St., Woburn on Thursday, February 4 at 10:00 am. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Salem, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jackie’s memory can be made to St. Charles Elementary School, c/o of Mrs. Donna Cargill, 8 Myrtle Street, Woburn, MA 01801 https://saintcharleswoburn.com/fundraising Arrangements by the Graham Funeral Home, Woburn.