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Published: Friday, 5/19/2006

Business owner was specialist in cooling systems

Richard A. Wells, 75, a specialist in refrigeration and air conditioning who owned or co-owned Toledo businesses for decades, died Tuesday in Shell Point Retirement Community, Fort Myers, Fla., where he lived for about 1 1/2 years.

Mr. Wells, formerly of West Toledo, had Lewy body dementia and Parkinson's disease, his wife, Betty, said.

He owned Wells & Associates on Secor Road for about 10 years, retiring in 2000. The firm installed and repaired refrigeration systems for businesses. At first, Mr. Wells spent time in the field, writing estimates and visiting work sites. Near retirement, he managed the office and business affairs.

Beginning in 1960, Mr. Wells was co-owner with Harold Bradish in Bradwell Inc. The firm, first on Westwood Avenue and later on Sylvania Avenue, did refrigeration and air conditioning installation and repairs for a range of clients, from major commercial accounts to homeowners, Mr. Wells' wife said.

He liked the trade, and he attributed his skill to the training he received at the former Macomber Vocational High School, of which he was a graduate.

"He had a good teacher at Macomber [who] really taught the kids," his wife said. For his success in business, he gave credit to others.

"He had really good workers," his wife said.

Early in his career Mr. Wells installed and repaired refrigeration at Sealtest Ice Cream and at Bennington Bros., both in Toledo.

He was a member of Local 50, Plumbers and Steamfitters, and RSES, which he joined when it was the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society.

Mr. Wells grew up in West Toledo. He was stationed in Texas while in the Army during the Korean War.

He liked fishing with his children, especially in Lake Erie and at Little Current on Manitoulin Island, Ont.

Mr. Wells was a member of Westgate Chapel.

Surviving are his wife, Betty, whom he married Oct. 7, 1950; sons, Richard A., Jr., Raymond, and Randy Wells; daughter, Sandra Berghuis; brothers, Dr. William H. and Dr. David L. Wells; 18 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Services will begin at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the Michael W. Pawlak Funeral Home, Temperance, where the body will be after 2 p.m. today.

The family suggests tributes to Shell Point Pavilion or the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer's Resource Center, both in Fort Myers.



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