Jack Wells was born in Hennessey, Oklahoma in December of 1926. He graduated in Hennessey from high school in 1944, lettering in baseball and football. He also worked delivering newspapers and as a projectionist at the local movie theater.
After graduating high school Jack enlisted into the Navy. He served 21 months as an Electrician’s Mate and an instructor at naval stations in San Diego and Treasure Island. After the Navy, he returned to Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma A & M (now OSU) receiving a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1950.
Along the way Jack married Barbara Martin and they settled in Tulsa. Jack and Barbara have four children, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grand-children. Jack worked as an electrical design engineer for a utility company and then moved up to Vice President, Power Engineering and Construction. In 1976, he was promoted to Senior Vice President in charge of setting up and supervising central engineering departments for four utility companies in the Dallas area. After over forty years with the company he retired and moved back to Tulsa.
Jack is known around Country Club as the go-to Astronomer. Jack has been fascinated with Astronomy since he took college physics, which led him to join a group of international Eclipse Chasers. Eclipse Chasers are people who plan their vacations around the best places to witness a full eclipse. If you have listened to Jack’s presentation, you know what an eclipse is an anomaly that occurs when the sun, earth and moon align in a way that one blocks another from sight. From our perspective, the moon may appear to be the exact same size as the sun while in actuality the sun is about 400 times bigger than the moon. It is also about 400 times further away. When the sun and moon align, the moon appears to block out the sun and this is known as a solar eclipse.
After college, Jack saved every penny he could and patiently waited for a full eclipse within the United States. He got his first opportunity in 1954, when he discovered that the next full eclipse would occur in Wisconsin. Jack packed up his wife and three little girls in their 1946 Buick and went first of many excursions to witness this phenomenon. What he experienced there moved him beyond words. “The unfolding of this is indescribable”, he said. “People all around you are oohing and ahhing…they’re just as stirred as I am”.
Jack had to take a hiatus from this hobby to raise his family. Upon retiring in 1990, Jack and Barbara joined the Eclipse Chasers and have created some of their most memorable memories. They have traveled to some of the most exotic places around the world; South Africa, Australia, India, Egypt, Mexico, Bolivia, China, Hawaii, Aruba and Turkey. Wearing the same lucky hat to all eclipses!
Jack is also active in the restoration of WWII aircrafts, a charter member of several air museums, recently began to guide tours for the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, in addition to being an avid air show fan. A couple days a week, you will find Jack out at the Jenks Airport, restoring vintage WWII airplanes. Jack, along with others like him across the country, are part of the Commemorative Airforce, a group that works to keep history alive by rebuilding the airplanes which helped to defend our freedom back in the 40’s.
If you see Jack around, stop and visit with him… he has lots of wonderful stories to share. We are so glad to have Jack and Barbara as part of our CCWH family.
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