Sister Helen Wells, wife of Elder Robert E. Wells, remembered for her ‘joy in serving the Lord’

Sister Helen Walser Wells, wife of emeritus general authority, died Sunday, April 16

Sister Helen Walser Wells, wife of Elder Robert E. Wells, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, died Sunday, April 16, 2023, in North Salt Lake, Utah. She was 92.

Throughout her life, Sister Wells was game for many adventures, several of which were furnished through her marriage to Robert Earl Wells, who served as a General Authority Seventy from 1976 to 1997.

When called to be a general authority, Elder Wells paid tribute to his “sweet companion,” who, he said, “is a great missionary and who takes great joy in serving the Lord.”

The two served together as leaders of the Mexico Monterrey Mission from 1968 to 1971. Following Elder Wells’ release as a general authority, Sister Wells served as matron and her husband as president of the Santiago Chile Temple from 1998 to 2001.

Sister Helen Walser Wells and Elder Robert E. Wells, who served as a General Authority Seventy from 1976 to 1997. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Helen Walser was born on Nov. 12, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, as one of nine children of Alma W. and Asenath Skousen Walser. She received a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in elementary education and served a stake mission in El Paso.

While teaching grade school in Cedar City, Utah, she met Robert E. Wells, a widower with three children whose first wife had died in a plane crash two years prior. After a whirlwind courtship, the two were sealed in the St. George Utah Temple in August 1962, just 30 days after they met. Immediately afterward they traveled to Paraguay, where Elder Wells was working as a country manager for Citibank.

Elder Wells’ international banking career took the family to Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Ecuador. Sister Wells raised seven children, and she and Elder Wells now have 27 grandchildren and 44 great-grandchildren.

A photo of Sister Helen Wells around the time she served as a leader of the Mexico Monterrey Mission from 1968 to 1971 with her husband, Elder Robert E. Wells. | Provided by Elayne Wells Harmer

One of their daughters, Sharlene Wells, won the Miss America pageant in 1985. In a talk she gave at BYU, Sharlene Wells referred to her mom as the “air traffic controller of the family” and expressed appreciation for everything she did. “She has really been the wall, and myself, the grapevine,” Sharlene Wells said.

In a Church News article published after his call as a general authority, Elder Wells commented: “My wife is a very spiritual woman. She has been a tremendous help in my life. I don’t suppose I will ever be able to really tell her just how much she has helped me since we have been married.”

In addition to being fluent in Spanish, Sister Wells was also a concert pianist. She utilized her talents in a variety of ways through the years, including as a stake Young Women president, ward Relief Society president’s counselor, dance and drama director, and stake missionary. 

Elder Robert E. Wells, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Helen Wells, pose for a photo outside of the Santiago Chile Temple, where they served as president and matron from 1998 to 2001. | Provided by Elayne Wells Harmer

Helen Wells is survived by her husband; her children, Susan (Grant Pace), Bob (Judy Daniels), David (Annette Pinnock), Dana (Peter Watkins), Sharlene, Elayne (David Harmer), and Janet (Michael Gunson); and her youngest sister, Melba (Keith Allan). She is preceded in death by her parents, seven of her siblings and her great-granddaughter Penny Grace Wells.

The funeral will be Saturday, April 29, 11 a.m., at 200 Eagle Ridge Drive, North Salt Lake, Utah. Visitation will be 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The family will also greet visitors on Friday, April 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Russon Mortuary, 295 N. Main, Bountiful, Utah.

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