June 9, 1955 ~ August 2, 2020
Born in: Owensboro, KY
Resided in: Owensboro, KY
Jackie Truman Wells
Jackie Truman Wells (Jack), a man of boundless energy, compassion, enthusiasm, and love, left this earthly world on Sunday, August 2, 2020, in Lexington, Kentucky, after a courageous battle with a lengthy illness. A lover of travel to places far and wide, Jack has reached his final destination in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jack entered this world in Owensboro, Kentucky, as the youngest child of George & Grace Wells, and quickly exhibited his energy through boyish mischievousness. That energy followed him throughout his life as he pursued hopes, fun, and dreams most could never imagine.
As a 15 year-old, he channeled his energy into a job ironing sheets at a local nursing home, making just over $1 per hour. Within six short years, his energy led him to purchase his first nursing home at the age of 21. It is here that his compassion shone through as he treated every resident with respect and dignity, as well as his co-workers, irrespective of position. He exhibited compassion for every individual, regardless of their lot in life.
As he moved through his 20’s, Jack began to acquire more nursing homes, many in different parts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and created Wells Health Systems, which is still in operation today, to provide quality care to the aged. And he began to expand his entrepreneurial enthusiasm, by growing into the areas of pharmacies and home health services. This expansion into more nursing homes and ancillary businesses brought on new partners, and risk, but this was at the heart of who Jack was: a risk-taker.
In his 40’s Jack sold what had become the Commonwealth’s largest group of independent nursing homes, and after evaluating the next chapter of his life, set out in a completely new space: the vending and food services sector by purchasing Canteen, At Your Service. In the nearly 10 years since, Jack and his partners would forge a path that would create one of the largest vending and food service business in the United States with more than 15 acquisitions, including John Conti Coffee, and comprising more than 800 employees.
In his 50’s Jack redefined himself yet again with a foray into banking investment, as well as real estate development. He aligned with Independence Bank, where he served on the Board of Directors, to create one of the largest community banks in the Commonwealth, and his real estate investments included projects in Owensboro, Indianapolis, Paducah, Bowling Green, College Station, Texas, Florida, and the Dominican Republic. But he was most proud of his investment in the redevelopment of downtown Owensboro where he reached his pinnacle with a personal residence at the Enclave, which sits at the edge of the mighty Ohio River that he loved so very much.
While seamlessly managing these many business entities, Jack invested his time, talent, and treasure in giving back to Owensboro with great love and enthusiasm. The many non-profit Boards he served on included The Boys and Girls Club, Owensboro/Daviess County Chamber of Commerce (Board Chair), Kentucky Wesleyan College (from where he received his degree and later served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees), Girls, Inc., Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, and many more. He generously supported with his treasure the local schools, including a new playground at Foust Elementary, the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum, ROMP MusicFest, and too many more to mention. In short, his love and enthusiasm for Owensboro, and his affinity for those with less, bore out in his selfless gifts of treasure.
Through it all, Jack was recognized many, many times for his accomplishments, including KWC Alumnus of the Year, Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, Ira O. Wallace award, the most prestigious award for outstanding leadership in the long-term care profession, and
many, many others. But, in the end, he sought no acclaim. He simply wanted to use his good fortune in life to “lend a hand up.” He was known to leave a very generous gratuity for a waitress the week before Christmas because, as he would say, “She could probably use that at this time of year.” His love was endless. It was boundless. It was enthusiastic. And it was with unyielding compassion for his fellow human-being.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, George and Grace Wells, and his daughter, Taylor. Those left to celebrate his exuberance for life, as well as his memory, include his wife, Gina Abell Wells, daughter, Kelsey Underwood, his brother, Jim (Barb) Wells, his nephew, Keith (Mandi) Wells, great-nephew, Noah Wells, and great-niece, Chani Wells. Oh…..and a host of brotherly friends from whom he derived great joy and affection.
As Jack was awaiting the gift of organ donation, please consider honoring him by registering as an organ donor through www.organdonor.gov . He would appreciate you for doing so. Other ways to honor Jack are through a memorial gift to include the Jack T. Wells Endowed Scholarship Fund at Kentucky Wesleyan College, The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, the Boys and Girls Club, or Girls, Inc. However you choose to remember Jack, please know how profoundly grateful he would be to you.
Jack would express spontaneous excitement with an exuberant, “Woo Hoo!” Honor Jack in the years to come by creating “Woo Hoo” moments for yourself, those you love, and those who simply pass by you daily. He did this every day. And thank you for celebrating the extraordinary life of Jack T. Wells.
Jack’s Celebration will take place 4:30 pm Friday, August 7th at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, Mike Horn Pavilion, which will be live-streamed at www.facebook.com/HaleyMcGinnisFuneral. Visitation will take place Thursday, August 6th from 2:00 to 8:00 pm at Haley McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory. All those who wish to honor Jack in person at the visitation or service are required to wear a mask while inside the funeral home and the pavilion for the safety of all those in attendance.
Private burial will take place at Oldham County Valley of Rest.
Haley McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory is both honored and privileged to be entrusted with the care of Jack Wells. Share your messages of condolence with the family of Jack by signing his virtual guestbook at www.haleymcginnis.com.