Thomas James Wellems (Colonel, USAR), age 95, died peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. He was loved for his wit and humor and the values he found in God, his family and his country. Born in Miles City, Montana on September 2, 1922, he served in World War II as a combat engineer with the 94th Infantry Division. He was a recipient of the EAME Theater Ribbon with 4 stars, American Theater Ribbon, Victory Medal, and Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster for service in combat. Following WWII, he received a BS in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and continued to serve in the US Army Reserves, receiving diplomas from both the Army and National War Colleges.
Tom married Roberta L. Davis on August 16, 1950. They lived in Anaconda, Montana, and Zion, Illinois, before settling in Albuquerque in 1955. Tom worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as chief structural engineer and, in 1967, received his MS from UNM for studies in this field. He is known for his designs of school buildings in New Mexico, Arizona, and Alaska, and for his contribution to the structural designs of Queen of Heaven, Risen Savior and other parish buildings in Albuquerque. Tom believed in community service. All his children attended Queen of Heaven School and he was heavily involved in parish functions including serving as President of the School Board. He always encouraged his children and grandchildren to work hard, study hard, and serve others. In retirement, Tom designed and built their solar home in Placitas, a project that he poured his heart, soul and half of a thumb into. In this home Tom and Roberta continued to build their lives through the ongoing remodel, multiple trips abroad, or walking on the mesa with their brainless Irish Setters. As grandchildren would visit he would soon perfect the pancake and cheesecake recipes, and master the subtle arts of storyteller, talent show director, and driving instructor.
Tom was preceded in death by his three brothers, Edward, Robert, and John.
He is survived by his wife Roberta and six children - Thomas E. (Marilyn Powell) and children: Nick (Alysen Robinson), Alex (Lauren) and Dianne; L. David; Bruce; Mary; Michael (Debbie Masloski) and children: Christopher, Michaela, Annamarie; Greg (Alice) and children: Ryan Nicole and Mary Elizabeth. He is also survived by 4 great-grandchildren Julie, Matthew Thomas, Thomas Hooper, and Roxanne.
Tom’s memorial service will be held at 9:00 am on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 in the chapel at Manzano Del Sol.
Interment will follow at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers or gifts you are welcome to make donations to the Peace and Education Coalition of the Back of the Yards, New City, 1823 W 47th Street, 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60609 or www.peaceandeducation.org <http://www.peaceandeducation.org/>;
Manzano del Sol Fund in memory of Thomas Wellems, 5201 Roma Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108 or <https://www.good-sam.com/foundation/donate>
The family is grateful to the staff of Manzano del Sol, and Heritage Home Care and Hospice for the care and loving they provided to Tom.