Former Wells' Dairy c.e.o. dies at 82

by Staff
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LE MARS, IOWA — Dairy industry pioneer Fay Robert Wells, former chief executive officer of Wells’ Dairy, died June 27. He was 82 years old.

Mr. Wells was the youngest son of Wells’ Dairy founder Fred H. Wells Jr., who founded the company in 1913.

Mr. Wells started working for the family business at the age of 16, retiring from day-to-day management of the company on Jan. 1, 2001.

He attended Iowa State University, enrolling in the dairy department’s creamery operations course. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He then attended the University of Iowa and received his bachelor’s degree in commerce in 1949.

Mr. Wells became president of the company on July 1, 1977, and in 1990 was named c.e.o. and chairman of the board. During his tenure, Wells’ Dairy became the largest family owned and managed dairy processor in the United States, with product sales and distribution in all 50 states and several other countries.

Mr. Wells died the same day the company broke ground on a new $26 million headquarters in Le Mars. He was the co-chairman of the board of directors of Wells’ Dairy. He also was active in many industry and community organizations.

He is survived by his wife, Betty; three sons, Gary, Dan and Doug; a daughter, Patricia Minthorn; two step-sons; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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