Gordon V. Wells, 104, of Dubuque, Iowa, passed away on January 12, 2020, at Luther Manor.

Funeral service 10:30 a.m. Friday, January 17, 2020, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church with Rev. Matthew Agee officiating. Family and friends may gather after 9:45 a.m. Friday at the church until time of service. Burial will be in Monona Cemetery, Monona, Iowa, with military honors by Clayton County AMVETS Post #27. Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, Dubuque, Iowa, is assisting the family.

Gordon Victor Wells was born on December 12, 1915, in North McGregor, Iowa, which is now known as Marquette. He attended Marquette schools and graduated in 1934, often joking that the F’s shown on his report card stood for fantastic. He worked for about eighteen months in a local grocery store and then was off to Wyoming, working on a ranch for one summer. When he got off the train from Wyoming, his mother Mary made him shed his clothes outside and take a bath to keep the bedbugs out of the house. She burned his clothes.

Gordon joined the Navy on January 5, 1936, and served his country for four years on the battleship USS Mississippi. His stories about his Navy exploits included how the Japanese did not dare to attack Pearl Harbor until his discharge because he was there piloting his motorboat wielding his Navy pistol. After honorable discharge from the Navy, he married Coletta Bentien on May 10, 1941, in Monona, Iowa. They then struck off for California and while living in San Diego, Gordon worked at Convair building B-24 bombers for the war effort and after the war worked at Kelco until 1950.

Missing the changing of the seasons, they moved back to Iowa where they settled in Dubuque. Gordon worked for the Milwaukee Railroad as a conductor and a brakeman from 1950 until July 1980 when he retired. This gave him and Coletta time to travel, and they saw many parts of the world and visited all of the continents except Antarctica. Both Gordon and Coletta have been members of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church for more than fifty years.

Gordon and Coletta had four children, their firstborn son died shortly after birth. Daughter Diane Locklear now lives in Santa Monica, California, son Gordon L. Wells (Debbie) lives in Rockford, Illinois, and daughter Charlene Kenkel (Steve) is in Toledo, Iowa.

Gordon loved fishing and hunting. From his days back in Marquette, he had learned to hunt most everything — pheasant, rabbits, mushrooms and squirrels. When he was no longer able to walk the woods hunting, he discovered a surprising number of squirrels in the backyard attracted to the cracked corn that he would set out. He kept a pellet gun near to the kitchen window and when a squirrel would turn its back he would slowly open the window and take a shot. He kept track of the number of squirrels he bagged over the years, and he shared 99 of them with family and friends whether they wanted them or not. Telling stories was a favorite activity of Gordon’s, be it stories about being raised a Mississippi River rat or tales of small-town life in Marquette and all the characters he grew up with in the 1920s. He shared the stories with friends, family and anyone who sat next to him in the mall.

Gordon’s love of life motivated those around him to live to the fullest as well.

He is survived by his beloved wife of seventy-eight years Coletta, three children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father Albert, stepfather Nobel, his mother Mary, sister Evelyn, firstborn son Gordon Lee and grandson Robert Kenkel.

The Wells family extends its gratitude to the staff at Luther Manor and hospice of Dubuque.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.