Elray Wells, loving wife, mother, and Grammy, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 16th, 2022 in Clear Lake City, Texas at the age of 79, with her husband and daughter by her side.
Elray was born on July 31st, 1942 to Virgil and Velma Wenninger Phillips in Palo Pinto, Texas. She was the youngest sibling to her brother, Billy Boyd and sister, Joanne Ingram.
During her childhood, her family moved all around Texas due to her father working in different oil fields throughout the state. They eventually settled in Corpus Christi. At Mary Carroll High School, she became the proud senior yearbook editor, which allowed her to showcase her love of writing and creativity. She graduated from Texas A&M University at Kingsville with a degree in English, leading her to teach high school English and History in Corpus Christi and Houston. Later, she earned her master’s degree in Library Science and found her true calling as a middle school librarian (no grading papers!). She loved her Houston ISD schools, Edison MS and Holland MS, the students that worked with her, and helping other teachers. She was instrumental in several major projects during her tenure including converting an entire library to a digital checkout system, bringing thousands of new books into the libraries, and instituting the National Honor Society to both schools. She retired from HISD after 31 years as a teacher and librarian.
On April 20, 1968, Elray married Tommy Lynn Wells in Corpus Christi, Texas. They initially settled in Spring, a suburb of Houston, where they began sailing together on the nearby lakes, eventually leading them to many years of sailboat racing. After Lisa and Kevin were born, they moved to Clear Lake City to raise them. Their street, Shady Elms Drive, was full of friends, summer block parties, birthday parties, and countless memories. Elray always welcomed a house full of kids from the block, even when they decided to make stamps of their feet…and all over her new carpet! Elray and Tom took their kids on epic, meticulously planned road trips all across the country – seeing much of Texas, Mexico, Canada, and all 48 continental states. Elray and Tom checked Alaska off as their 49th state with a cruise after retirement.
Elray was an avid reader, devouring books by the boxful, especially loved reading to her grandchildren, was a wonderful writer, loved the beach and seashells, her morning coffee and newspaper, and our dogs over the years – Poco, Dotty, Valentine, and Happy. Happy spent much of his life curled up at her feet in her chair.
Her greatest love was her family. She was so proud of her kids and grandkids – bragging about them to anyone, including strangers at the grocery store. Even as her dementia progressed, she lit up seeing her grandchildren. She showed her love in many ways – from worrying about her kids all the time, to her wonderful hugs, to blowing kisses to her kids and grandchildren as they left her house.
Elray was preceded in death by her parents, Velma and Virgil, and her brother, Billy Boyd. She is survived by her husband Tommy, her two children, Lisa (Brad) Riley, and Kevin (Mary) Wells, her grandchildren, Aaleyeh, Josiah, Aiden, and Noah Wells; Cameron and Allison Riley; her sister and best friend, Joanne Ingram, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at noon on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Crowder Funeral Home, 111 E Medical Center Blvd, Webster, TX. Reception to follow at 1814 Antigua Lane, Houston, TX.
Elray was passionate about education, reading, libraries, and especially her grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, please donate to her grandchildren’s elementary school libraries:
Cameron & Allison Riley
Harvard Elementary in Houston, TX
https://harvardelementarypta.org/support (Please designate “Elray” under additional information)
Aaleyah, Josiah, Aiden, & Noah Wells
Fairhope West Elementary in Fairhope, AL
(Please designate “Elray”)