Passing of PGM Russ Wells

It is with sadness that we share the passing of Dad Russel C. “Russ” Wells, Past Grand Master, Grand Cross. July 4,1934 – Dec. 6, 2020.

Dad Wells was a Chevalier, an Active Legion of Honor, and a holder of the Cross of Honor. He is a past Executive Officer of Michigan DeMolay
and served as Grand Master from 1991 to 1992

Russel C. Wells, Grand Master of Masons in Michigan 1983 – 1984

Russel C. Wells of West Bloomfield became Michigan’s 138th Grand Master of Masons during the closing hours of the 158th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan held in Flint on May 25th, 1983.

The following article is Past Grand Master Russ Wells bio from the 1983 Grand Lodge of Michigan Proceedings.

Following in the footsteps of his father who joined Beethoven Lodge No. 154 in Paterson, New Jersey in 1943, Russel joined Ethan Allen Chapter Order of DeMolay on Dumont, New Jersey in 1948. He was the Master Councilor of Friendship of Detroit in 1952. In 1966 he wa invested with the Legion of Honor of the Order of DeMolay followed by being invested with the Cross of Honor in 1972 and the Degree of Chevalier in 1975. In 1977 Russel was elected an Honorary Member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay and in 1983 he was elected an Active Member of that body.

On October 18, 1956, Glenn L. Alt, Grand Marshal and Rex P. Sackett, Junior Grand Warden raised Russel to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason in William M. Perrett Lodge No. 524. In 1975, the Senior Wardens of Metropolitan Detroit, elected Russel as their presiding officer. He served his Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1976 and that year he was elected president of the Masonic Master’s Association of Metropolitan Detroit.

In 1958 he joined and is now a Life Member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Detroit where he is active in the portrayal of the dramatic degrees. Also in 1958 he joined Moslem Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. where he has served as DeMolay Chairman from 1971-77, Masonic Relations Chairman 1977 and on the Legal Staff from 1977-80. The Detroit Court of the Royal Order of Jesters nominated him to membership in 1972.

In York Rite Masonry, he is a member of Birmingham Chapter No. 93 R.A.M., Monroe Council No. 1 R. & S.M., Detroit Commandery No. 1 K.T., York Rite College No. 1, and in 1982 he was elected to receive the Order of the Purple Cross of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America.

Rounding out his Masonic Affiliations in his membership in Victoria Chapter No. 290 O.E.S. in Detroit and Southfield Hi-12 Club.

The following lodges have elected him as an Honorary Member: Centerline No. 550 in 1978, Lincoln Park No. 539 and Dearborn No. 172 in 1980, Golden Ark No. 595, Vienna No. 205, and Olive Branch No. 542 in 1982. He is also an Honorary Member of Mizpah Shrine Temple of Forty Wayne, Indiana

Community and church activities include Nardin Park United Methodist Church where he served on the Administrative Board and the finance Committee and Deerfield Village Community Association where he was the Charter Treasurer and the second President. Presently he is on the The Community Advisory Board of Woodland Hills Center in Troy.

Masonic Youth has been the strong point of Russel’s activities as is evidenced be being the Chapter Advisor or Chairman of William M. Perrett Chapter Order of DeMolay for many years, member of the DeMolay Foundation of Michigan from 1971-1977 serving as President from 1974-1977, and advisor of Farmington DeMolay from 1975. Farmington Bethel No. 55 Jobs Daughters has been a part of his activities since 1978 and in 1982, the Grand Guardian Council of Michigan elected him to receive the Honorary grand Triangle of Honor. In 1983, the Order of Rainbow for Girls awarded him the Grand Cross of Color.

In Moslem Temple’s Clown Unit, he is known as “Blue Nose” and is the only shrine clown in the unit that is allowed to have a blue nose. In 1977 the “Masonic World” proclaimed “Blue Nose Elected Grand Marshal”.

Russel was born on July 4, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan to Genevieve and Charles R. Wells, their second son. He graduated from Detroit Cooley High School in 1952, The University of Michigan where he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1957, and the Detroit College of Law receiving his LLB degree in 1964 and Juris Doctor in 1968. He is the Nothern Regional Patent Counsel for the Bendix Corporation.

On June 22, 1957, Joan Marie Podany of Detroit became his bride. Joan, a high school teacher in Detroit since 1955, received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and her Masters Degree in Psychology from Wayne State University. Because her mother was afraid that Joan would not marry a Mason, Joan joined Victoria Chapter EOS in 1955.

In 1961 their first son Robert Allan was born in 1963 Willim Roger was born, and in 1965 their daughter Kay Ann was born. All three children have followed in their parents footsteps by joining either DeMolay or Jobs Daughters. Both sons are Past Master Councilors, Master Ritualists and holders of the Degree of Chevalier. Robert is a Past District Master Councilor and in August 1982, Bill was elected Deputy State Master Councilor for the State of Michigan and is eligible to be State Master Councilor in 1983-1984 which will be the first time that a Grand Master and State Master Councilor have been father and son. Daughter Kay is a Past Honored Queen and was Grand Bethel Choir Member in 1981-1982. The accomplishments of their children are a source of pride for both Joan and Russel.

The 138th Grand Master of Masons in Michigan will devote his energies to lead and direct the activities of Michigan’s Masons with enthusiasm , dignity and pride. Public awareness of the Fraternity is at the source of his directions to a very active committee structure of the Grand Lodge.

Our 138th Grand Master lives by the following phrases found in the the ritual of the 32nd degree:

“Give me to serve, and I am doubly blest.”

“This is my task and it is a joy to me.”

“My brothers, the consolation we bring at this hour must lighten the grief that we all must feel. To those who were nearest and dearest to our departed brother, we extend our sorrowing sympathy. Words cannot lessen the sense of irreparable loss, but we can take comfort in the infinite love of the universal Father. We hope the remembrance that they were worthy of the ideals of our Order, and deserved the commendation of all good men, will be a solace in the years to come.” DeMolay Adult Memorial Service