Harry Joseph Wells, age 94, of Manhattan, died peacefully on 24 November 2020 at the Manhattan Veterans Hospital, due to complications of surgery.
Born on Staten Island in 1926, raised in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, only child of Harry Carr Wells and Frieda (Quast). Preceded in death by his stepmother Theresa (Dolphin), and beloved cousin Mary (Quast) Ingram and her son John.
Survived by stepbrother James (Milly), stepsister Eileen Stimpfl (Kenneth), stepsister Ann Gross (Marty), friend and spouse Ronald Liburdi, cousins Ellen Ingram, Kevin Ingram, Pamela Ingram Wetzel (Henry), many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, among whom are Jonathan Haney, Jorge Borjas, and Anthony Paccione. Harry was also loved by Ronald's family, brothers Felix (Roxann-deceased)(Sandra), Richard (Betsy-deceased), Michael (Cindy), stepbrother James Casamassa (Cheri), stepsister Madeline Casamassa Surprenant, nieces and nephews.
Harry enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943, serving on a destroyer escort in the the Pacific. After the war he returned to New York City, working to support his family after his father's death. He reenlisted in 1950, stationed in occupied Japan. After discharge in 1952 he moved his family from a lower east side project to a comfortable home in Bellerose, Queens. At this time he worked in the payroll and property depts. of Bellevue Hospital, where he made many friends.
Later in the 1950s he began working at the Automobile Club of N.Y. where he had many friends among his colleagues.
He retired in 1994 after 42 years with the Club, and began a new career as a volunteer with the Bellevue Auxiliary, working in the Patients Library, assisting the librarian with various tasks, including running book sales, and his most enjoyable task, taking the book cart to patients. Harry didn't just hand out books, he talked with patients. His happy, optimistic outlook on life and empathy for the less fortunate endeared him to many. Eventually, Harry was elected to Vice President and member of the Board of the Auxiliary.
From the early 1970s until his death Harry served as President of the Board of Directors of Save Our Strays, an animal rescue organization founded by Shirley Lustig, who has been a beloved and faithful friend over the years.
Harry was a true New Yorker, native born and raised, but never learned to drive a car. he had "street smarts". Although he dropped out of high school to enlist in the Navy, he eventually attended night school to obtain his GED. He was a great reader; he often said reading was his college education. Harry also loved the theater, going often, and provided his family with tickets whenever he could.
Harry had a big heart that embraced his family and many friends. He was a loyal friend himself who never forgot a birthday or anniversary. And he loved animals, especially pussycats; he never met a stray cat he didn't love.
His family and friends miss his happy disposition, sense of humor and outspokeness. He touched many lives in 94 years.
He will be sorely missed.
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used to
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes
Play, smile, think of me
Let my name be ever the household word that
it always was
Let it be spoken without effort without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always on your back
May the sun shine warm on your face
May the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again . . .