EAST LIVERPOOL – Joseph M. Wells III, lifetime area resident, passed away Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at the East Liverpool City Hospital. He was 77.
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Born in East Liverpool, April 21, 1941, he was a son of the late Joseph Mahan Wells, Jr. and Elizabeth Thomas Wells. Raised in Newell, he attended Western Reserve Academy and graduated from Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut. Joe then continued his education at Denison University and later earned an Executive Management Post Graduate Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served from 1966 to 1968 in Vietnam.
Joe began his career at Homer Laughlin China Company as a part-time worker in high school and college, starting full-time in 1963. He worked his way up to the sales department and then succeeded his father as executive vice-president and general manager in 1986. In June 2002, he became CEO and president of the company. In 2013, he retired and became chairman of the board of directors, a position he currently held.
An active member of the Tri-State community, he was a past president of the East Liverpool Area Chamber of Commerce, served for many years on the East Liverpool City Hospital Board of Trustees, a member of the Elks Lodge 258 and lifelong member of the East Liverpool Country Club. He was also recognized as the Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year in West Virginia in 2003, was named a “Distinguished West Virginian” by Governor Bob Wise, an inductee of the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame in 2009, a board member emeritus of Davis and Elkins College, and a member of the 200 Club of Gentlemen Golfers.
An avid golfer all his life, he played at courses worldwide. A loyal Pittsburgh Steelers fan and an unlicensed pyrotechnician, one of Joe’s most memorable experiences was taking a dive on the USS West Virginia, an Ohio Class ballistic nuclear submarine in 2000.
His wife, Betsy Broomhall Wells, survives at home. The couple married November 22, 1969. He also leaves a daughter Anne Wells Cook and her husband, John, of Chicago, and a son David G. Wells and his wife, Elizabeth, of Springfield, Massachusetts. There are three grandchildren: John J. Cook, James T. Wells and Eleanor G. Wells.
Two sisters survive as well, Jeannie W. Wicks and her husband, Pete, and Liz W. McIlvain and her husband, Jack, all of East Liverpool, along with a sister-in-law Luanne B. Graulich and her husband, Terry Channing, of Hammondsport, New York, and a brother-in-law Vincent Broomhall and his wife, Lindra, of Iuka, Mississippi. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by an infant brother Thomas Wells.
Friends may visit Friday afternoon and evening at the Dawson Funeral Home where the family will be present from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Family and friends will conduct a memorial service at Noon Saturday at the funeral home.
Burial will take place at Riverview Cemetery.
Memorial tributes in lieu of flowers may take the form of contributions to Thompson Park, P.O. Box 458, East Liverpool, Ohio 43920 or a charity of your choice.