Betty Wells

Obituary of Betty Lou Wells

Please share a memory of Betty to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
Betty Lou Clawson Wells of 297 Cherry Drive, Boone, passed away peacefully at her home at the age of 93 on Saturday, February 4, 2023. She was the daughter of Addie and B.D. Clawson. Both families had a long and rich heritage of mountain culture. She studied Education and English, earning a Bachelor's degree in 1951 from Appalachian Teachers' College and her Master's degree in 1962 from Appalachian State University. She first taught in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools from 1951 to 1953. She met her husband, James Aubrey Wells of Marion, N.C., in Charlotte, and they moved back to Boone where they ran their downtown Boone Trail Restaurant, a favorite of local businesspeople as well as folklorist Richard Chase. She returned to education, teaching English and Art at Appalachian High School from 1963 until 1965, transitioning to the consolidated Watauga High School where over the years she taught English, Art, and German as well as teaching adult art classes in the summer. She retired in 1990 after teaching for 29 years. Betty had a wide range of interests. She enjoyed music, drama, and literature of many genres. She was a skilled gardener, growing both vegetables and flowers for most of her life. She was also an expert in canning and preserving foods. She knew a great deal about the use of native plants and herbs for healing purposes. She was well informed and passionate about her mountain heritage. For at least 15 years, Betty went to elementary schools and festivals to help students and their parents understand and appreciate early mountain living and skills including churning butter, which she allowed the children to do with an antique churner; to understand the steps of fabric making from producing the wool, flax and cotton; spinning thread; and weaving the materials. She also demonstrated picking apples with an antique picker and learning how fruits and vegetables were dried for the winter. She demonstrated use of a number of antiques, mostly family used, and tools to show how mountain people survived without modern conveniences. She was a fine storyteller and many will remember her excellent presentations. Betty loved to learn about other cultures and enjoyed traveling. After retiring, she and her husband were very active in the study and teaching of the international language of Esperanto as one of her beliefs was that there needs to be an international auxiliary language to assist in communication and peacebuilding between the peoples of our world. In promoting the language, they traveled extensively in Europe and also hosted Esperantists from many countries, including Russia, in their home. She especially enjoyed hosting international exchange students. Betty was an active member of the local Baha'i Faith, believing that all the major religions are a part of the oneness of mankind, and also attended the monthly Shekinah Gathering, a multi-faith assembly that meets for worship. She will be sorely missed by both groups and her many friends and family. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Rosa Lee Norris and twin sister Mary Sue Fairbrother, husband James Aubrey Wells, second husband Charles Donoghue, stepson James Walter Wells, and daughter Kitty Wells. She is survived by her stepdaughter Carolyn Carnes of Blairstown, NJ; daughters Marla Dorsett of Millers Creek, NC and Laura Wells Saeger of New York, NY; and son, Wayne Wells of Tampa, FL. She is also survived by eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. A graveside Baha'i burial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, February 10, at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens of Boone Cemetery, 521 Old East King Street. A celebration of Betty's life is planned for later this month. Donations in Betty's memory may be made to High Country Peace Village, a multi-faith collaborative project for children aged 8-12 in our community which focuses on unity and peace. The students meet monthly in various locations culminating with a week-long day camp at Valle Crucis Conference Center in August. Students will hike and explore nature, learn about different faiths and communities, and practice art, music, yoga, and peacemaking. Please make checks payable to High Country Peace Village Care of: High Country United Church of Christ, 8233 Highway 421-N, Vilas, N.C. 28692. For more information email
Share Your Memory of