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Published: Wednesday, 6/17/2009

Teacher assisted groups that aid blind

Marian M. Wells, 89, an Ottawa Hills schoolteacher for 37 years who volunteered for groups that help people who are blind, died Monday in Franciscan Care Center, Sylvania.

She was in declining health. The cause of death was not known, her sister Theresa Lyons said.

Miss Wells, formerly of West Toledo, settled at Ottawa Hills Elementary School and, from 1958 on, taught third graders - about 1,000 of them, she estimated at her June, 1984, retirement.

"Kids are still kids," Miss Wells told The Blade.

She believed in order and expected children to obey rules, her sister said. Colleagues had a title of endearment for Miss Wells, all of five feet tall: the General.

She had another side: "I try to make each one of [the students] feel important about themselves," Miss Wells told The Blade. "If they do, then they'll be able to learn."

She grew up on a truck farm on Central Avenue near Secor Road. She was a graduate of Notre Dame Academy, attended the former DeSales College, and received a bachelor's degree from the former Mary Manse College.

She volunteered before retirement at the Sight Center of Northwest Ohio. She belonged to the Inner Vision, formerly the St. Lucy Society, a group for the blind or visually impaired. She drove blind members to meetings until about a year ago.

"That was her mission in retirement, to help other people," her sister said.

Her nieces and nephews prized her chocolate chip cookies, which she baked for Easter, Christmas, and sometimes in between.

"They were not real hard, they were not real soft. Nieces and nephews had the same recipe, but they can't make them taste the same," her sister said. "So I believe they were made with a special love."

Surviving are her sisters, Mildred Maier and Theresa Lyons, and brother, Chuck Wells.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in Gesu Church, where she was a member. Arrangements are by the Coyle Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to Gesu Church, Notre Dame Academy, or a charity of the donor's choice.



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