Rebecca Loudean Wells was born May 5, 1926. Her father was Elmer Futrell, and mother was Rebecca Futrell, who died when Loudean was 5 years old. Loudean was raised in Golconda where her father was sheriff of Pope County for many years and her beloved stepmother, Cecil, taught school.
After high school, Loudean went to Evansville, Ind. to work in a factory making airplane parts in a defense plant during World War II. This is where she met and married Theo. They moved to Metropolis and had two children, Theo “Ted” and Suzanne “Susie.” Loudean has one stepdaughter, Carolee Gailey.
Loudean was a “stay-at-home” Mom, who was active in many civic and social activities and was by her husband’s side as he ran a successful car business, bowling alley and others.
Loudean was appointed to the Metropolis Library Board in 1975 and was the longest serving member on that board. She was so proud of her tenure there and the strides that the library made over her years of service.
Of all her accomplishments in life, Loudean was most proud of her family. She was happiest when everyone was at her house, cooking out, sleeping upstairs and downstairs, swimming, playing pool and laughing about old memories and sharing new experiences.
There was no clearer indication of her devotion to her family than when Theo became ill and she cared for him through his “long goodbye.”
They had had a good life together, and their home was a gathering place for family and friends on weekends to swim, play golf, have potlucks and parties, and a have a drink or two — or maybe three.
More than one neighborhood child learned to swim in their pool.
Loudean and Theo traveled extensively and began vacationing in Acapulco in the early 1950s. He fished competitively there, and she embraced the culture as they continued to winter in Mexico throughout much of their lives.
Not only was Loudean a remarkable grandmother, wife and mother, she was also a great friend. She will be missed by her dear circle of friends including Mollijean, Irene, Kay, Bea, Mary Ruth, Bette Lee, Connie and many, many more. Each Thanksgiving she made sure she shared her family’s bounty with someone who was not so blessed. And, she and Theo helped out a lot of people in Metropolis just because they could and felt it was the right thing to do.
It is a commentary on the place Loudean held in her family that her grandchildren kept in contact with her on a weekly — sometimes daily basis. She acted as chief advisor and sometimes as chief consoler when things weren’t going so smoothly. She leaves behind five grandchildren, Aaron Wells and wife Josephine, Courtney Wilke, Hunter Wilke and wife Meghan, Andrew Wells and Jamie Wells; and two great-grandchildren, Alyssa Wilke and Emma Wilke.
It was important to Loudean that her descendants know and appreciate their family history, and she kept large boxes for each one filled with special pictures, documents, newspaper clippings and various items that she thought would have special meaning to each one of them.
She had a particularly interesting personal genealogy in that an ancestor of hers was one of the passengers on the Mayflower, another was a photographer for the Baltimore Sun newspaper who went down with the Titanic, while yet another was the youngest drummer boy in the Revolutionary War.
Loudean was fearless when it came to doing those things which she considered important — both small and large. It was nothing for her to drive to Florida alone or to make the long arduous flight to New Zealand more than once to visit Susie and her husband John.
Besides being a member of the library board, Loudean belonged to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the historical club, the garden club and ladies golf. Loudean had so many interests — genealogy, traveling, reading, news and politics, sports, flowers and fashion. She was curious about the world around her and the people in that world, both famous and infamous.
Loudean was still e-mailing, reading the latest publications and posting on Facebook until almost the end.
Loudean will be missed immensely by her family and friends, but her legacy will continue through the fond memories and many stories passed along.
A memorial service will be held this summer in Metropolis.
Memorials may be made to the Rebecca Loudean Wells Scholarship Fund established earlier this year at the Metropolis Library, c/o Carrie Stapleton, 317 Metropolis St., Metropolis, IL 62960 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.