Wells O’Brien died peacefully surrounded by his family on the 6th of November 2019 at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville, SC.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he married the love of his life Carol Gertrude Oelfke on November 28, 1970. They have two children, Amy and Chris. Amy is married to Alan Drescher, and have two children, Kaitlin (9) and Jacob (7). Chris is married to Danielle (Molan), and have two children, Devon (7) and Sydney (5). He was preceded in death by his mother Margaret Frances O’Brien, father-in-law Paul Oelfke, mother-in-law Gertrude Oelfke, and daughter Stacey O’Brien.
He proudly served in the Navy during the Korean War (1951-1952) as well as the US Naval Reserves (1947-1953).
He attended two law schools – the University of Nebraska and the University of Arizona. He took and passed the Arizona Bar Exam in July of 1956. He subsequently sat for the California Bar Exam in the Spring of 1979 and Nevada Bar Exam in the Fall of 1979, both of which he passed. He practiced law for 33 years specializing in real estate and land trust law. His legal accomplishments included most of the legal work in establishing Lake Havasu City, Arizona, as well as the purchase and moving of the London Bridge to the city. This endeavor involved 12 different federal, state, county, and local government agencies spanning 13 months. Lake Havasu City is now the largest city in Mohave County and along the entire Colorado river area. In addition, he did substantial legal work in developing the cities of Fountain Hills (AZ), Pueblo West (CO), Holiday Island (AR) and Palomino Valley (NV).
His involvement in USA Swimming started when his kids were young, serving 27 years, he participated as an Official, Secretary/General Counsel, and on the Board of Directors. As General Counsel he undertook the complete writing of the Code of Conduct for USA Swimming, still in use today. He officiated over 50 national meets and 5 world meets including in Australia, Russia, Brazil, and as the Meet Director for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. In 2012 he was presented with the highest award by USA Swimming to non-swimmers. Awarded annually, he was just the 32nd person to be honored with ‘THE USA SWIMMING AWARD’. Wells was extremely proud of this award, as are we.
He was active with the Bureau of Land Management, operating under President Ronald Reagan, serving 22 years as Chairman and 8 years as Advisory Counsel. While living in Florida he spent two years as President of the Pelican Landing Golf Club in Bonita Springs, Florida.
As successful as Wells was, his proudest achievements in life is his marriage to Carol and raising their two children, Amy and Chris. He was incredibly proud of their accomplishments and mark in life. Amy as a Physician Assistant, bringing health and inspiration to life, and Chris with his PhD in Forensic Science, bringing knowledge and closure to the end of life. He felt this brought a full circle of life, which he lived and enjoyed every minute of.
Over his life he lived in Manhattan Beach, CA; Reno, NV; Fountain Hills, AZ; Scottsdale, AZ; Reno, NV; Denver, CO; Bonita Springs, FL and Greenville, SC.
Wells enjoyed travelling the world, golf, cards, and being Opa to his grandchildren. He lived his entire life with generosity, kindness, and boundless love for his family.
In accordance with Wells’ wishes there will be no funeral. There will be a memorial service in Greenville, SC at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown, on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. The family will receive friends immediately following the service at the funeral home. The family will hold a private interment celebration in Minnesota at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his name.
To send flowers to B. "Wells" O'Brien's family, please visit our floral section.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105