Dennis Wells Sr. was born in Silverton, Colorado, on May 28, 1943, into a large family of 11 children, of which he had a twin brother, Donald. Dennis and Don were jovial and playful twins with a memorable saying for everything: “You got that right!”

As a young man, Dennis went to school in La Sal and Moab. After ninth grade, his education became hands-on in the workforce. In his downtime he bowled and played softball.

On June 3, 1963, Dennis married the love of his life, Gladys Faye Cowan. “Squaw, as he lovingly called her. Together, they had three boys within the span of three years. Dennis, Donny, and Darrin, also known as the 3-Ds, were the joy and pride of their lives. Living in Moab, if Dennis wasn’t watching his boys play sports or attending all of their practices, he was taking them fishing and hunting in the La Sals.

Dennis was a hard worker in everything he pursued. He spent the majority of his career mining. “That’s the way it goes on the big jobs,” he always said. He spent more than 20 years uranium mining in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. 

Then, when uranium took a turn in 1985, Dennis went back to school to become a heavy equipment operator. He also worked as a bus driver for athletic events and ski trips. This is when he fondly became known to the community as ‘Wells’ or “Mr. Wells to you.” Dennis then worked in gold mining as a heavy equipment operator and electrician in Nevada and Colorado from 1987 until he retired in 2005. 

Even before retiring, Dennis found great pleasure cooking, cleaning, shopping, and caring for his grandkids. Once fully retired and living in Moab again, Dennis fulfilled his lifelong green thumb by gardening. His lush lawn was the envy of the neighborhood and his friends and family cherished his home-grown tomatoes. 

In 2008, Dennis experienced the adventure of a lifetime. He took a hunting trip to South Africa with his son and grandson. He was the appointed photographer of the trip and captured animals, the landscape, and treasured memories. 

Through his last years battling pulmonary fibrosis due to uranium mining, Dennis remained optimistic with a strong spirit and sense of humor. In Dennis’s words: “Glad you got to see me” and “Have a goody.” 

Dennis is survived by his sons, Dennis, Don, and Darrin; siblings, Roy, Devota, Joanne, and Reginia; 10 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren; and lifelong friends, Alex and Terry Leech. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Walt and Clarabelle; his wife Gladys; siblings, Gary, Don, Jean, Beverly, Wanda and Cheryl; and granddaughter, Kensey Wells.

There will be a memorial/celebration of life for Dennis and Gladys Wells in Moab on Dennis’ 80th birthday on May 28, 2023. For service information and condolences, go to