Jeanne L. Wells of Athens, Ohio died unexpectedly on Thursday, Nov. 19, at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus. She was 88.

She was born on June 12, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Mich., the daughter of John and Helen Livingston. Jeanne graduated from Michigan State University with a music major and taught music to elementary school students in Farmington, Mich. to start her career as a teacher. She married her high school sweetheart Arvin (because he was the smartest boy in class) on August 29, 1949. They moved to Athens, Ohio in 1954 in order for Arvin to begin his 43-year teaching career as an English professor at Ohio University.

In lieu of a traditional career in Athens, Jeanne devoted her time and efforts volunteering at numerous meaningful organizations, charities and important causes. She gave countless hours and her energetic personality to every cause she strongly believed and participated in. A few of the organizations, and there were many, included Metropolitan Housing Authority, League of Women Voters, Athens Children’s Services, International Wives, The Dairy Barn, Friends of Sengekontacket Pond and the All-Island Art Show on Martha’s Vineyard, of which she was the longtime chairman. She was a 4-H advisor of the Putnam Pioneers with her dearest friend, Anne Culbert, for over 25 years. Together they educated and enriched many young lives about nature and the environmental challenges that secured the existence of God’s greatest gifts. Jeanne taught piano lessons to many children in Athens and thoroughly enjoyed singing, attending concerts at O.U.’s Memorial Auditorium and once a year, journeying to New York to attend the Metropolitan Opera. She was a big Beverly Sills fan.

Jeanne was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd for over 50 years where she joyfully sang as a soprano and found great musical satisfaction with this wonderful group of singing friends. During the summer months she and Arvin would escape the Athens humidity and head for their quaint little cottage on in Edgartown where they enjoyed swimming in the ocean (one of her favorite daily activities), bird watching, clamming, hiking the beautiful trails, dog walking with Angel (their four-footed beagle companion), sailing, canoeing, shell collecting and enjoying delectable seafood (and cooking it too, as she was an avid “chef” who would take minimal ingredients and create a masterpiece meal). Jeanne loved to travel and experience other countries’ cultures. Trips to Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and Northern Africa were highlights in her life. Her interest in families from various countries and the strong relationships they formed were instrumental in her welcoming foreign students and their families from all over the globe into their home to live with no strings attached. She was a true humanitarian!

She led a very active, energetic life until the day she became ill. Her love of life, her optimistic outlook (the glass was always half full) and her never-ending energy (if she wasn’t multi-tasking, she wasn’t happy) were all special, glorious personality traits she was very proud of. Her family was hoping she would be late (everyone who knew her always told her 30 minutes ahead of the time she was needed was a standing joke with them all) for her journey on the staircase to heaven. But God needed her to help him with countless important tasks she was so good at, so she was “set free” to assist him before her time.

She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Arvin Wells of Athens; her daughter, Leslie (Wells) Peschke of Crown Point, Ind.; her son, Douglas Wells of San Jose, Calif.; her grandchildren Eric Peschke of Lake Zurich, Ill., Christopher Peschke of Crown Point, Ind., and Katie and Benjamin Wells of Saline, Mich.; her sister, Carol Howell of Farmington, Mich., nephews Andy Howell and Bruce Howell and his wife Renee and family; nieces Terrie Sharp and her husband Gary and family and Sally Kaska and her husband Mike and family, and many other relatives and dear friends. Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved beagle companion Angel, who brought her much love and joy.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12 at noon at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 64 University Terrace, Athens, OH 45701, with the Rev. Deborah Woolsey officiating. A lovely potluck at the church will follow (one of her favorite mealtime activities).

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Metropolitan Housing Authority or the Friends of Sengekontacket Pond.