Jack T. Wells, an Owensboro native and entrepreneurial icon born in 1955, died Sunday at 65 years old.
His career began at 15, when he earned $1.25 an hour at his first job in the laundry room at Hermitage Nursing Home on West Parrish Avenue.
As an adult, an entrepreneur and alumnus of Kentucky Wesleyan College, he bought The Hermitage and has owned many other similar facilities. At one point, he owned the largest long-term care company in Kentucky, which had more than 3,500 employees.
With the proceeds earned from the sale of his healthcare business in 2007, Wells began purchasing real estate.
In 2010, Wells formed Riverfront JAM, LLC with his business partner Matt Hayden for the purpose of purchasing properties in downtown Owensboro.
Together they developed the buildings for Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, Alorica and The Enclave at Riverfront Living. They also purchased Towne Square Mall and the old Texas Gas property to develop.
In 2014, Wells told Owensboro Living “I wanted to be a part of the revitalization of downtown [Owensboro]. My personal vision is to create a living destination for downtown, encompassing art and events, and creating fun, great shopping, great food, and an overall environment where people want to live.”
Wells served on the Kentucky Wesleyan Board of Trustees since 1994 and served as Chair of the Board from 2001 – 2005.
He also has chaired the boards of the Elizabeth Munday Senior Center as well as the Hospice and Palliative Care of the Ohio Valley. He sat on the boards of Girls, Inc., the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, Republic Bank & Trust, Owensboro Health and Independence Bank at various times in his career.
Wells was named the KWC Outstanding Alumni in 2011. In a release from the school that year, he said “I love Owensboro. It’s been good to me. I try to be choosy with my time and resources. I want to do my best for the citizens of Owensboro.”
In the release, Wells also said the revitalization of Owensboro was something Wesleyan is a part of, and both Wesleyan and Owensboro would benefit by working together.
“Kentucky Wesleyan is Owensboro’s college, so I think it’s a good direction for Wesleyan and for Owensboro. The city is going through a revitalization. The whole city feels it, and so does Wesleyan,” Wells said in the releast. “Wesleyan is in the midst of a revitalization, too, both of the campus and its students. If we can continue to grow our enrollment, we can have 1,000 students on campus in four years.”