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Greg Wells

Community members are mourning the loss of a local community icon, Gregory “Greg” Wells, 59. Early this week, on July 5, Wells passed away unexpectedly.

Wells was the co-founder and board chairman of First Trust Bank, serving in the role as board chairman since the bank’s inception in 2004. Wells, said representatives of First Trust Bank, helped guide and grow the institution through uncertain economic times to its current position with locations in Hazard, London and Richmond.

Wells’ friends said his business interests were varied and began in the coalfield of Eastern Kentucky. Wells, they said, co-founded Leslie Resources at the age of 21 with only a two-acre mining permit and transformed it into one of the most successful and largest employers in the area, said friends of Wells. That allowed him to explore additional ventures, including but not limited to, residential and commercial land development and eventually banking. Wells, bank officials said, possessed an eye and desire to create something from the ground up, and was never satisfied with the status quo.

Beyond business, Wells was an avid outdoorsman and tremendous supporter of University of Kentucky athletics. His philanthropic contributions to the communities he operated in and served were numerous, though often anonymous, said local officials. One notable exception was his work with Hospice of the Bluegrass (now Bluegrass Care Navigators), where he served on its Board of Directors and helped to establish the Greg and Noreen Wells Bluegrass Hospice Care Center in Hazard. This facility provides services to families at their most vulnerable hour and is befitting the man who carried himself with a quiet dignity and an innate desire to help others, said local officials.

Friends of Wells said his proudest accomplishment was his family. Wells is survived by his wife of 32 years, Noreen Fray Wells, his five children: Gregory Brian Floyd Wells (Meghan), Robert Daniel Wells, Adam Brent Wells (Brenda), Tori Shay Wells and Griffin Cole Wells; grandchildren: Katie Grace, Parker, Joseph and Brenda Sophia. Wells is also survived by his mother, Janneth Day Wells, and brothers Gary Daniel Wells and George Anthony Wells.

Wells, said local officials, was a leader in his community and will be dearly missed by the host of family and friends he leaves behind.

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