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In Memory of Anita Wells


4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday November 4, 2019
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
520 11th Street South
Hudson WI, 54016


10:00 am - 11:00 am
Tuesday November 5, 2019
St. Patrick Catholic Church
1500 Vine Street
Hudson Wisconsin

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday November 5, 2019
St. Patrick Catholic Church
1500 Vine Street
Hudson Wisconsin

Anita Lorraine (Sally) Wells, long time Hudson resident, died peacefully at the age of 93, surrounded by family at Christian Community Home in Hudson, WI on October 30, 2019. Anita was born in Glenwood City, WI, on April 5, 1926, the oldest of the six children of Joseph and Alice A. Gillis. The family moved to New Richmond where her five siblings were born: Francis, Norine, Betty, Jack, and Edward Allan. Anita graduated from Meadowdale Rural School and New Richmond High School in 1943. She attended the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, MN, followed by graduation from Saint Mary’s School of Nursing as a registered nurse in 1947.  

Anita married John F. Wells on September 27, 1947. They had nine children: John (Sue), Daniel (Roger Morgan), Michael (Bonnie), Timothy (Jackie), Mary (Ron Bodesheimer), Patrick (David Lamangan), Thomas (Jenifer), Margaret (Gregory Sanderson), Jeanne (Jeff Denis).

Anita was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, homemaker, farmer, and healthcare provider. She worked as a professional nurse for over fifty years; the majority of her career spent in geriatric care. She was a staff nurse, and later head nurse, at the Convalescent Care Unit at Hudson Memorial Hospital. Anita was named Director of Nursing at Christian Community Home (CCH) when it opened in 1981, a position she held for many years. She was known for her compassion and excellence in nursing practice, and for leadership qualities which inspired co-workers and staff, leading to CCH being recognized as an exemplary care facility for the aging.

Anita was named the State of Wisconsin Outstanding Nurse of the Year in 2000. She received an award of merit from the Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services in 1991; the resident council of CCH nominated her for this award, citing “her caring commitment to quality of life for the elderly and her dedication to excellence in the services she provided in affiliation with CCH.” She received the Citizenship Award from the Hudson High School Student Council in 1979. She was a Pax Christi nominee by St. Patrick’s Parish Ladies Guild in 1993.

Anita’s husband, John, died at age 53. Anita was faithfully committed to her husband and family. She was known for her homemade cinnamon rolls, Christmas cookies, and hearty meals made from her garden’s bounty. Anita’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren learned from her an appreciation for cooking, baking, sewing, gardening of vegetables and flowers, and the art of hospitality. Anita loved cheering for the Minnesota Twins and Green Bay Packers. She enthusiastically attended Twins games with her family well into her 90s.

After her retirement she enjoyed time with grandchildren, great grandchildren, and traveling with family to many states. Anita was a talented quilter and she made quilts for her entire family, as well as many friends, relatives, and the CCH auxiliary. No two quilts were alike. She maintained lifelong friendships with fellow healthcare providers and was visited by several in the last days of her life. Anita will remain in the hearts and memories of many.

Anita was preceded in death by her husband, John; son, Timothy; great grandson, Syber; parents, Joseph and Alice Gillis; sister, Norine Casey; brothers Francis, Jack, and Edward Allan Gillis. She is survived by eight children, sixteen grandchildren, twenty-eight great grandchildren; sister, Franciscan Sister Elizabeth Gillis; daughter-at-heart, Jean Radke; sisters-in-law Rosemary and Rita Gillis; and many nieces, nephews, and friends. 

A visitation in celebration of Anita’s life will be held at O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, WI on Monday, November 4, 2019 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. A funeral mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Hudson, WI on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 11:00 AM, followed by burial at St. Patrick’s cemetery. A one-hour visitation will precede the funeral mass at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, November 5 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, Anita requested that memorials be given to Lakeview Hospice (Stillwater, MN), Christian Community Home (Hudson, WI), and St. Patrick’s Parochial School (Hudson, WI). Our family extends a depth of gratitude to the staff of Christian Community Home, to Father John Gerritts, Jean Radke, Sister Elizabeth Gillis, and the staff of Lakeview Hospice.

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Anita's Tribute Wall

Tributes (5):

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    • My thoughts and prayers go out to all of Anita’s family. Anita hired me at CCH years ago. Anita you were one of a kind with such a caring heart. RIP beautiful lady.

    • GG left a print in my heart like none else has. I have read, heard and said so much about the amazing woman she was, and so many wonderful adjectives have been used to describe her persona -loyal, humble, hard-working, generous, welcoming, dedicated, kind, compassionate, loving, giving, sweet, fair, friendly, funny, just to list a few. And there is still so much more about her than words just don’t seem to be enough.
      Anita was the good kind of old fashion in many ways, with so many characteristics that are hard to find today, and yet so ahead of her time in others. She could talk about pretty much anything and always show an interest in what was happening in other people’s lives. It seemed to me she always wanted to learn from and about everyone around her, and about stuff that was important to whomever she was talking to. She knew about politics, and religion, and culture, and sport teams, and tv shows, and family dynamics, and cooking recipes… it seemed like she knew enough about everything. The conversation with her always flowed easily. And always left me wanting more.
      I met Anita only about 20 years ago (not long enough, I reckon!), yet somehow she left like home. I can’t explain it… and it probably doesn’t make sense to others, but she made me feel at home even from the very beginning: comfortable, safe, loved, welcomed. Her heart was just that big, and always open to give.
      To her sons and daughters, to all of her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, to Sister Elizabeth, and to her friends, my deepest and most sincere condolences.

    • I loved going to Jeanne’s house, partly because her mom was like a mom to all of us. She was so caring, giving and always had a hug and a smile to give. Hugs & Prayers to you all at this difficult time!

    • This is the epitome of a life well lived. My Aunt Sally was one of the best people I’ve ever known. She was kind, compassionate, loving, but also tough minded and totally dedicated to whatever task was in front of her. Her professional life reflected this dedication. You couldn’t ask for a better nurse. She could speak on many subjects and was happy to engage in conversation on any of them.
      Her grandchildren and great grandchildren were precious to her in her later years and she could talk about them for hours. It was my privilege these last couple of years to be able to see her and visit every few weeks just to reminisce and laugh about those old times. It was truly a joy to me. My heart goes out to my cousins and their families. Sally will always be in my heart.

    • Anita was a wonderful lady. She gave me and many other young nursing students great job opportunities when we were young and so eager for experiences. She was a lot of fun too! The work team enjoyed some outings that I will always remember. I’m so glad I had a chance to visit with her this summer. She’ll be missed by many.
      Hugs and prayers to all the family she leaves behind. Hold on to all of your memories and cherish them.
      God Bless Anita!