Senator James D. Wells View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Assemblies Served:
Senate: 69 (1981) - 72 (1987)
House: 63 (1969)
64 (1971)
65 (1973)
66 (1975)
67 (1977) - 68 (1979)
Home County: Linn
James D. Wells
Linn County


James D. Wells was born on August 7, 1928, in Marathon, Iowa, to Willard W. and Florence Peterson Wells. He passed away on July 6, 2010, at the age of 81. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Shirley; daughters, Linda King, Cheryl Meyer, Nancy Lodermeier; grandchildren, Allison and Evan King, Nicole Reyes, Jordan Meyer, Cody, Shelby, and Leah Lodermeier; a great grandchild, Mackenzie Reyes; and his sister Jean Barsness.

Wells graduated from Marathon High School and went on to various labor schools. After graduation he joined the U.S Army Reserves where he was in the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, and attained Sergeant First Class with the 328th Combat Battalion.

He married Shirley Clare in 1950 at the Epworth Methodist Church in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

He worked various labor positions, including 32 years at the Quaker Oats Company. He was a member of many organizations including United Way, C.O.P.E. Committee Chairman for Community Affairs, Sharon United Methodist Church, past President of the Credit Union Board, 16th Avenue Commercial Club, and Local 110 and Retail Wholesale Department Store Union.

Wells was a State Representative for twelve years and a Senator for eight years. He was instrumental in the initiation of state university license plates which also helped fund scholarships. He initiated the right to turn on red law and introduced the first non-smoking legislation in the state of Iowa.

After retirement he and his wife Shirley traveled the United States in their RV and settled for eight years in Bella Vista where the entire family enjoyed spending time. He was an avid Hawkeye and Razorback fan and also enjoyed collecting, tinkering, and music.

Wells was a Linn County Democrat. He served in the Iowa House of Representatives during the 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, and 68th General Assemblies. He served in the Iowa Senate during the 69th, 70th, 71st, and 72nd General Assemblies.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE EIGHTY-FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF IOWA: That in the passing of the Honorable James D. Wells, the State has lost an honored citizen and faithful and useful public servant, and that the Senate by this resolution expresses its appreciation of his service to the State and tenders its sympathy and kindest regards to the members of his family.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That a copy of this resolution be spread upon the Journal of the Senate and that the Secretary of the Senate be instructed to forward an enrolled copy to the family of the deceased.