OBITUARY: Ann Harwell Wells


Ann Harwell Wells was born in New York City in 1936, a daughter of Ann McLemore Harwell and Coleman Alexander Harwell. She moved to Nashville with her parents in 1937, when her father became Editor of The Tennessean.

She attended Parmer School, Ward-Belmont, and Harpeth Hall, and graduated from The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1954. She received the B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt in 1958 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving her M.A. degree from Vanderbilt and studying at Peabody College, she taught for two years at Ensworth School.

In 1962, she was married to Dr. Charles E. Wells, a neurologist, geriatric psychiatrist, and writer who died in 2006.

She wrote Ensworth: The First Twenty-Five Years, and was a Permanent Trustee of Ensworth School. She edited and published three books by Charles Wells: Dear Old Man, Bonnie Ramona of Oz, and Ashford: The Depression Years. She also edited and published Always in My Heart: The World War II Letters of Ann & Coleman Harwell.

As a former breast cancer patient, she became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, which provides support and encouragement to breast cancer patients. She later became a volunteer Davidson County Coordinator of Reach to Recovery.

She was a collector, dealer, and student of early Tennessee maps, and compiled a comprehensive checklist of Tennessee maps published from 1794 to 1830. These articles were published in four issues of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly (1976, 1981, 1984, 1990). She was a President of the Friends of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library of Vanderbilt University, served as a Regent of the Ladies Hermitage Association, and was a member of Leadership Nashville.

She was a communicant of St. George’s Episcopal Church. She was a member of the Tennessee Historical Society, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Cheekwood, Belle Meade Country Club, Centennial Club, Colonial Dames, the Friday Club, International Study Club, Review Club, and Study Club.

She is survived by her children, Wyatt Clinton Wells Il (Barbara) of Montgomery AL, Coleman Harwell Wells (Jenny) of Narberth PA, and Ann Wells Parrish (Michael) of Nashville, and by her grandchildren, Linus A. Parrish, Margaret Ann Wells, Charles E. (Chase) Wells Il, Wyatt C. Wells Ill, Robert J. Wells, and Emily (Emme) X. Wells. She is also survived by a sister, Carolyn Harwell Carr of Atlanta, two nieces, Anne Carr Bean of Atlanta and Carolyn Harwell Carr of Meredith NY, a host of cousins, many of whom live in Nashville, and many friends, including the Lunch Bunch, a group of women who have been close friends since childhood.

Special thanks to Teresa Trevino for her love and support, and Abe’s Garden Community, Cura for Care, and Alive Hospice for their thoughtfulness and care.

Visitation with the family will be held at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 4715 Harding Road, on Friday, October 14 beginning at 10:00 a.m. with the service following at 11:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to St. George’s Episcopal Church, the Alzheimer’s Association, or the American Cancer Society.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Wells family.


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