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Hundreds pay last respects to Dr. Wells

At a special service at Newhall Memorial

Posted: December 15, 2008 9:31 p.m.
Updated: December 16, 2008 4:30 a.m.

Because news of Dr. Patty Wells' sudden death continues to shock and dismay patients, co-workers and friends honored the adored doctor with a special service at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

Organizers turned the hospital cafeteria into a hall of joy Monday as a dozen family and friends prepared to share "Patty stories" with more than 100 people who packed the room.

The services were set to begin and end with Patty's favorite country music. And the Patty Wells, M.D., Pet Therapy Scholarship fund was announced.

Wells died in her Stevenson Ranch home Nov. 28. She was 44.

For days and weeks since Wells' untimely death, more than a dozen caring and deeply grieved patients called The Signal office to share their stories of warmth and love.

Marlene Jenkins of Valencia said Wells filled dual roles in the lives of her family.

"We wanted our two older teenage daughters to have a positive role model," Jenkins said. "We heard about her through networking and we thought what a wonderful opportunity it was to have our two young women daughters have a family practitioner who was a female. And she was just wonderful."

Jenkins said Wells was genuine and loving.

"There would always be a three-legged dog there," Jenkins said. "She was a pet lover and always had a little dog there hanging around.

"She had an office with a lot of women working there, so there was always a lot of food there," Jenkins said. "If you ever wanted a country doctor in the modern day, she was it."

But Wells was so much more than a doctor.

"My dad had passed two years before and my blood pressure was up," Jenkins said. "And I told her about it and she teared up."

Jenkins became emotional telling the story.

"Then (Wells) said, ‘I'm a daddy's girl too.'"

Memories of Wells' magical ability to touch lives intimately abounded.

Pam Wolf, case manager at Newhall Memorial Hospital, is a personal friend.

Though she knew Wells through work avenues, it was their common love of animals that bound the two women together.

"Horse people kind of understand each other," Wolf said. "When (Wells) came to ride her horse, it was her time to let go of all her responsibilities."

Wolf boarded and cared for Wells' horse, Dusty, at her Saugus ranch home.

"When you smell the horse and you're with the horse, everything else goes away. For that moment it's you and the horse."

"When we were out riding, nothing mattered except the trail, the flowers, the greenery," Wolf said. "If she didn't feel like riding, she'd come over and we'd just do grooming. Brush the horses and make them look pretty."

Wolf and Wells put a big bow on Dusty when he first came to live at Wolf's ranch to delight Wells' young son, Braden.

"This brings back a flood of memories," Wolf said. "I'm still in that stage where ... there are just too many emotions involved."

In a twist of poetic irony Wolf said she had just finished exercising Dusty when her phone rang and she learned of her friend's death. But the tragic passing will not stop Wolf's commitment to care for Dusty.

Wolf said she will keep Dusty on her ranch for the rest of his life. It's been an honor, she said.

Bhavna Mistry, Newhall Memorial spokeswoman, said the service was held to allow the community to say its last goodbyes to the unforgettable doctor.

"All her patients feel like they were her friends," Mistry said. "We wanted to do something from the hospital so people can remember her and say their final goodbyes."

Wells was born July 17, 1964, in Chicago. She is survived by her son, Braden Wells; her parents, Alan and Nancy Wiener; sisters Debby (Lon) Alberts and Kathy (Jeffrey) Pecora; and her nephews and nieces: Jay, Austin, Andrew, Chenin and Emily.


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