PROFILE OF A MUSEUM VOLUNTEER
World War II in Europe was less than three months old when on November 21, 1939, Stan Wells was born in Fresno, California. Stan’s father Oren, was a registered pharmacist, struggling to succeed in a new business. His mother, Muriel, left her job as a telephone operator at Pacific Telephone and Telegraph to be a full time mother and housewife.
Stan attended local schools, Burroughs and Easterby elementary, before moving on to Clovis Union High School, graduating in 1957. Following a year of “rest and recuperation”, Stan began attending Fresno City College, later transferring to Fresno State as an accounting major.
At the wedding of a good friend in June, 1961, Stan was introduced to a young (very young) lady, Janice, who would eventually play a large role in his life. One day in February, 1962, after spending an hour in a large lecture hall at FSC listening to a substitute professor talk about statistics, which seemed to confuse everyone, including the professor, Stan cut his remaining classes, drove to the post office in Fresno, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
Stan reported to the Federal Building in San Francisco July 5, 1962, and was subsequently flown to San Diego to begin boot training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Following nearly six months of boot camp and infantry training, Stan received his first leave. During his leave, Stan and Janice became engaged to be married.
On January 10, 1963, Stan reported for duty at Camp Pendleton, California. He was assigned to Service Company Headquarters Battalion (Rein), First Marine Division (Rein) FMF. With four semesters of accounting under his belt, Stan was assigned to the “Office of the Disbursing Officer”, First Marine Division. For the next two and a half years Stan worked in the fiscal section, directly disbursing officers, and himself rising to the rank of Corporal.
Following active service of two years, eleven months and twenty-eight days (released two days early for the convenience of the government), Stan returned to Fresno. In September, 1965 Stan returned to his studies at Fresno State as a Business Administration major. Stan and Janice were married in October, 1965 and Stan was conferred a Bachelor of Science degree in June, 1967. The newlyweds moved to San Francisco where Stan began a career with the Emporium Department Store chain. After seven years, he realized that retailing wasn’t really the career he envisioned dedicating his life to, and the couple returned to Fresno in May, 1974. Stan worked in the wholesale grocery distribution business with United Grocers, Fleming Foods, Certified Grocers and Unified Western Grocers, spanning a 30 year career. Stan retired on December 1, 2005. Janice is in the early days of new employment with Fresno County, and will be retiring in five years when they expect to have free time to travel.
With his free time and a lifelong interest in history; particularly World War II, it was a logical step for Stan to gravitate to the Veterans Memorial Museum (Home of the Legion of Valor) as a docent. In addition to docent duties, Stan spends time cataloging and identifying uniforms and equipment at the museum.