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In Memoriam: Tressie Zorn Wells

by | Jan 4, 2022

Tressie Wells passed away on January 1.

Tressie Zorn Wells, 91, of The Pines Retirement Community in Davidson, NC died after a long battle with dementia on Saturday, January 1, 2022.  She is survived by her four children and their families: Scott T. Wells (Cathy) of Hillsborough; Cindy Wells Klingberg (Frank) of Matthews and their children, Travis Klingberg, Stacy Klingberg, and Jillian Klingberg; C. Jane Wells (Mel Hooper) of Huntersville and their children, Gus Lilienthal, Kelsey Hooper and Cameron Hooper; Nancy W. Wells (Jay Wentworth) of Hillsborough and their children, Kevin Wentworth (Edie King), Neva Doctor (Mark), Rion Wentworth, Brad Wentworth (Marielis Garcia), and Sean Wentworth (Emily); extended family, Turkish daughter, Süheylâ Kesler (Atilla) and their children, Zeynep and Asli, and spouses.  Tressie also had 11 great-grandchildren: Kaan Onuk, Hayley and Natalie Klingberg, Isabella Bilancioni and Oliver Ezennubia, Ava Hooper and Atlas Lilienthal, Payton and Maleko Doctor, HB and Sawyer Wentworth.  She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Dr. Henry Bradley Wells.

Born on May 17, 1930, in Lyons, GA, into a large extended Zorn family, Tressie graduated from Lyons High School in 1947.  She met Bradley in Savannah, GA, and they married in 1948.  They raised their family in Chapel Hill, NC, where Bradley had joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina.  She was a rabid Tar Heel basketball fan, continuing to buy season tickets for many years after moving away from Chapel Hill.  The 25 years spent there took the family literally around the world.  Tressie developed a love of travel and good food.  The two years she spent in New Delhi, India in the mid 1960s changed her world view.  That was further expanded when she and family played host for a year to an AFS high school student from Turkey, Süheylâ, a few years later.  The family also spent a sabbatical year in Kailua, Hawaii, where she didn’t learn to surf!  Famous for her fried chicken, she loved to cook and entertain friends and family, always prepared for an impromptu dinner party.

After Bradley’s retirement from UNC, the couple moved to Winston-Salem, NC, where he joined the Bowman Gray School of Medicine faculty.  They settled into retirement at their lovely home on Lake Norman, near Mooresville, NC.  Within their circle of family and friends, the social gatherings there were infamous, especially the 4th of July pig-pickings and the hat contests!  Tressie’s nurturing home was always open to a vast array of students, friends of friends and their children’s friends.  One of those friends has always considered her his “second mother.”  They provided a home away from home and numerous holiday meals, always with open arms.  Tressie and Bradley moved to The Pines at Davidson in 2008. There she was engaged in many community activities, whether dressing up as a clown, taking guitar lessons, or enjoying a gathering of “Sunday Sippers.”  After Bradley’s death, she dated and was committed to Hal Sellars until his death in 2021.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: The Resident Support Fund of the Pines, c/o The Pines, 400 Avinger Lane, Davidson, NC, 28036; Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, 705 Griffith Street, Suite 203, Davidson, NC 28036; the charity of your choice.  No memorial service is planned.  Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC, is serving the family.

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