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Services for Paul Evelyn Wells, 85, of the Town of Tonawanda, retired milling executive and a decorated combat officer in World War II and the Korean War, will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in Church of the Nativity United Church of Christ, 1530 Colvin Blvd., Town of Tonawanda. Burial will be in Elmlawn Cemetery.

Wells, who was born in London, England, died Thursday (Oct. 18, 2001) in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a short illness.

He spent the early years of his life in Bedford, England, before coming to the United States through Ellis Island in 1923 with his father, Russell, a cabinetmaker, and his mother, Edith, a tailor. The family lived for a time in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minneapolis before moving to Buffalo.

Wells graduated in 1935 from Lafayette High School, where he played football. He later attended the Millard Fillmore College division of the University of Buffalo.

He was a U.S. Army lieutenant when he returned to his homeland during World War II. He later would receive two Purple Heart medals for wounds suffered in combat in France, two Bronze Star medals for valor and the French Croix de Guerre.

Wells was a platoon commander in the 99th Infantry Division at Bastogne in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge, his unit winning a Presidential Unit Citation in that battle. In March 1945, his unit was the first infantry division to cross the Rhine River at the Remagen bridgehead into Germany.

He later commanded occupation troops in Bavaria.

Wells was recalled to active duty to serve as an infantry officer in Korea. He was a lieutenant colonel when he retired from the Army Reserve.

He began his career in Buffalo's milling industry at the former Miller Milling Co., where his father was employed in the mill's carpentry shop. His milling-industry career spanned 40 years as he rose through the ranks to become head of the mill's quality control labs after the Peavy Co. acquired it. The company is now known as Con-Agra.

Wells trained as a cereal chemist and worked on product development for a number of major accounts, including Appian Way Pizza and Pepperidge Farm bread. In the early 1950s, he worked with monks at the Abbey of the Genesee to develop the commercial formula for Monk's Bread.

Later, as the company's troubleshooter, he spent many early mornings in bakeries in Boston, Hartford, Chicago and New York City. He retired from Peavy in 1975 and served as a consultant to Standard Milling Co. in Buffalo for several years.

Wells for many years supplied the communion bread at Church of the Nativity and served on the church's board of trustees and Worship Committee.

His wife, the former Shirley Armbruster, died in 1990.

Survivors include two daughters, Susan D. of East Aurora and Sherry A. of Miami; a son, Paul T. of Saratoga Springs; and four grandchildren.


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