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Weekly 150

Dr. Orvis (O.C.) Wells

The Gentleman Optometrist

Posted 11/19/19

Born Orvis Clulon Wells, Jr., January 10, 1916, Dr. Wells was the eldest of Dr. and Mrs O.C Wells of Murray, Kentucky.The Wells family was one of the pioneer families in Calloway County, Kentucky, …

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Weekly 150

Dr. Orvis (O.C.) Wells

The Gentleman Optometrist

Posted

Born Orvis Clulon Wells, Jr., January 10, 1916, Dr. Wells was the eldest of Dr. and Mrs O.C Wells of Murray, Kentucky.

The Wells family was one of the pioneer families in Calloway County, Kentucky, having settled there before the Civil War. His mother’s family of Oliver and Raterre were very early inhabitants of Henry County.

Raised in Murray, Dr. Wells was educated in the Murray city school system, graduating from high school in 1932. He entered Murray State College, where he studied pre-med for three years. Deciding at that time to follow in his father’s footsteps as an optometrist, he entered Northern Illinois College of Optometry, of Chicago. In 1938, he was awarded his Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, from the institute.

After graduating, Dr. Wells began an internship in the practice of optometry at Kingsport, Tenn. In early 1939, he moved to McKenzie, taking over the practice of the late C.O. Galloway.

In May 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Pharmacist’s Mate, serving his first few months of duty at Great Lakes Training Station and U.S. Navy Midshipmen’s School, Northwestern University. It was while at Northwestern that he was commissioned Ensign, United States Naval Reserve.

After receiving his commission, he was sent to Harvard University for six months indoctrination training. Upon completing this instruction, he was assigned orders to the staff of Fleet Air Wing Eleven, with headquarters at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

His duties at this post were assistant to the flight surgeon, in charge of eye examination and aircraft recognition training for the fliers. This tour of duty was for 22 months.

In February 1946, Dr. Wells was discharged from the Navy with the rank of lieutenant, a rank held in the Reserves.

A few weeks before his discharge, he was married to Charlotte Jean Wright, who also was serving in the Navy. She was part of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), Charlotte’s home was in Frankfort, Ind.

After discharge and a short vacation, Dr. and Mrs. Wells came to McKenzie, where he resumed his practice of optometry. They took up residence on West End Avenue. Soon Mrs. Wells gave birth to a daughter, Mary Lynn.

In 1968, Dr. A.L. Spivey joined Dr. Wells’ Clinic. The two doctors remained partners until 2002, when Dr. Spivey bought Dr. Wells’ interest. “He was a fine Christian gentleman,” Dr. A.L. Spivey said of his former partner.

“I learned a lot, not only about the practice of optometry from him, but also about caring for people. He had a real compassion for people.” In 1994, Dr. Wells cut back his practice to two days a week until his retirement in December of 2002.

Dr. Wells was a member of the American Optometric Association, The Optometric Extension Program of Postgraduate Study, and was post president of the Northwest Tennessee Optometric Association.

In 1954, he was admitted to the Tennessee Academy of Optometry an organization dedicated to the advanced study and research in human vision.

Locally, he was a member of the Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Recipient, American Legion, VFW, was a part secretary of the McKenzIe Chamber of Commerce, served on the Board of Trustees of Bethel College and on the School Board for McKenzie Special School District.

Dr. Wells was a sports enthusiast with a passion for the game of golf. He normally played at least once a week.

O.C. Wells died February 5, 2004 and was buried next to his wife, Charlotte (July 5, 1991), at Mount Olivet Cemetery in McKenzie.

Jason R. Martin

B.S. • M.A.Ed • MLS

Councilman, Ward II

Executive Chairman, McKenzie 150th Celebration

E: jmartin@mckenziebanner.com  P: 731.352.3323

Jason Martin is a life-long resident of McKenzie. He graduated from McKenzie High School in 2000; earned a Bachelor of Science in History from Bethel College in 2004; a Masters in Education from Bethel University in 2009 and a Masters in History and Humanities from Fort Hays State University in 2011.

Weekly 150

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