Helen Walser Wells started her education at BYU on a music scholarship, but felt that if she had a degree in education she could better support a family if she ever needed to.
“I felt inspired,” she said, “to look to an education degree as the most practical means of contributing to a family because if I needed to work, I would be home during the summer when the children were at home, and during the school year I could arrive home about the same time as the children.”
Wells graduated in 1958 with her degree in elementary education and a minor in music. Her first assignment was teaching second grade.
She married Robert E. Wells and began a life of travel. Robert became a manager for Citibank and was assigned to Paraguay, then Argentina, and later to Ecuador. In addition to business responsibilities, assignments for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also kept the Wells family overseas. Elder Wells was called as a mission president to Monterrey, Mexico, in 1968; he was then asked to head up the Church's newly organized International Purchasing Department. In 1972 he was called as a mission regional representative to southeast Mexico. Helen traveled with him whenever she could.
When Elder Wells was called as a General Authority in 1976, his first assignment was to the southern cone of South America, which included Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. They lived in Santiago, Chile, and then moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1981 they returned to Salt Lake City to live, but Elder Wells traveled to South American countries two weeks out of every month.
From 1998 to 2001, Robert and Helen Wells served in the Santiago Chile Temple as the temple president and matron. In 2002 they moved to St. George, as Helen explains, “to enjoy more sun than snow.”
“I have been greatly blessed to have been part of the College of Education," says Wells. "The classes, the professors, and the hands-on experience as a student teacher and as a full-time teacher contributed to helping me as a mother and a member of the community.”
When asked what advice she had for college students, she suggested keeping a journal because college is a special time that passes all too quickly.
“Enjoy each moment,” she advised. “Set and focus on your goals, and expand your world by enjoying and making friends, enjoying the cultural arts, and especially enjoying the sports! Remember above all who you are and what is expected of you, and be that shining light that you are meant to be.”
Helen and Robert Wells are the parents of seven children, 27 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.