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As the rays of the sun shined through the branches of the pecan tree behind her childhood home, Rebecca Sharline Wells passed away peacefully on the morning of Thursday, October 19 at the age of 74 after a quiet battle with cancer. She embraced her final years with love and intention, spending quality time with friends and family, spoiling her dog Leo, and without the need to rush to be ready before the loud ring of an early-morning school bell.
Sharline served Mississippi’s public school system for 42 years and taught over 4,000 students throughout her long educator career as “Miss Wells.” She received her undergraduate degree in education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1970 and began her teaching career with the Laurel School District. Showing her heart for others, Sharline devoted her career to teaching young mothers through the Jackson Education Center from 1972 to 1978. Wanting to teach closer to home, she returned to Jones County and continued teaching for 26 years at South Jones High School in Ellisville. There her talents were appreciated and her positive energy and caring spirit for doing good were apparent each day. Following her retirement in 2004, she answered the call to be a math tutor at West Jones High School. After three years of tutoring, she returned to the classroom full-time and taught Algebra I at West Jones Middle School. Dedicated to her craft, Sharline was enthusiastic about education, and the teachers she served with through the decades were more like family than co-workers.
Sharline Wells was a gifted instructor of higher mathematics, teaching Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus. Her kindness and encouragement eased the anxiety of those who considered themselves mathematically challenged. Sharline had a sincere interest in the lives of others, and especially those she held dear. She loved deeply and, in turn, was loved by so many. She doted on her nieces and nephews and then her great-nieces and great-nephews, and additionally the children of non-related families who were blessed to have Sharline as their “chosen” aunt, great-aunt, or grandmother.
Her enthusiasm for life and the support of others was apparent everywhere she went – whether she was keeping stats at basketball games at Jones County Junior College or cheering for the cheerleaders and football team of her beloved South Jones Braves. Sharline also enjoyed quiet time cross-stitching thoughtful creations for the newest arrival or the special occasion of a friend. She cherished a long-time inner circle family of friends. Her goodness, smiles, extravagant love, encouraging words, and playful sense of humor will be missed by all.
Sharline was preceded in death by her parents Lurline and William Franklin (Willie) Wells, Sr. of Waynesboro, sister Janice Wells Pompa Dearman, sister Beth Wells Long Shuman, brother William Franklin (Bill) Wells, Jr., and sister-in-law Billie Johnson Wells, nephew Joey Pompa, niece Kim Pompa, and great-niece Chloe Lavoie.
She is survived by her loving family members including brother Michael Taylor (Buddy) Wells and his wife Linda, John Timothy (Tim) Wells and his wife Susan, nieces and nephews Michael Dearman, Johnny (Sandie) Dearman, Heath Dearman, Salena Long Fedor, Chuck Long, David Long, Nickole Morales (Antonio), Anna Willis Wilkinson (Joseph), Rene’ Lavoie (Chad), Heather Wells, Sharla Draughn, Michael Wells (Kelly Ann), Jay Wells (Esther), and Kate Quamma (Tyler), as well as many cherished great-nieces and great-nephews.
Services will be held at Waynesboro First Methodist Church at 701 Turner Street on Sunday, October 22, 2023, with Dr. Steven Bruns officiating. Visitation will begin at 1:00 P.M., with services starting at 3:00 P.M., followed by a graveside ceremony at Pleasant Grove Church Cemetery, Dyess Bridge Road, Wayne County, MS.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to support teachers in your community as they provide school supplies for their students each school year.
A heartfelt thank you to all the fellow teachers and school leaders who loved and worked with Sharline over the decades; to her dearest and most-cherished circles of friends; to her kind and thoughtful neighbors; to her former co-workers at Gibson’s, McRae’s, and Belk; and to her supportive church family members.
Special thanks to Sharline’s nieces Heather Wells, Nickole Morales, Rene’ Lavoie, and Anna Wilkinson, as well as Urma Johnson, who lovingly helped provide the greatest of care over the past two months of her illness.