Gregory Wells, 68, of Woodbury, passed away on Oct. 17 from cancer. He is survived by wife Sheryl
Wells; sons Adam Wells (Jade) and Todd Wells; sister Sharon Johnson; and brothers Cliff Wells Jr. and
Scott Wells. He is preceded in death by his parents Clifford Wells Sr. and Dorothy Wells.
A career pilot, Greg spent 36 years at Northwest and Delta airlines. Certified to fly multiple aircrafts, he
was most often seen in the captain seat of “The Queen of the Skies” – the Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Rather
than shying away from a risky assignment, Greg relished it. While at NWA, he was a flight instructor and
test pilot, flying aircraft that were damaged or coming out of maintenance repair. Greg’s job was to
push aircraft to their limits, intentionally stalling out or over speeding to ensure their safety before
being used to carry passengers. He loved every minute of it. Greg was also entrusted with flying retired
aircraft to their final resting place at airplane boneyards in the desert. He was even the last pilot to fly
the 747 used to film “Air Force One,” the famous Harrison Ford action movie.
When Greg wasn’t swooping and soaring, he was teaching and coaching the next generation of airline
pilots. To this day, his son Adam, who flies for Southwest Airlines, often finds himself in the cockpit with
one of his dad’s former students. Born Feb. 24, 1954, Greg grew up in East St. Paul, graduating from
Harding High School in 1972. He began flying at age 15 and knew he wanted to join the Air Force. While
serving in the armed forces, he made supply runs – including pallets of Coors Light beer – to the
American troops fighting in Vietnam. During his time in the Air Force, he took college courses, later
earning a bachelor’s degree from Metro State. Between his time in the military and flying for a
commercial airline, Greg was a flight instructor at Fleming Aviation at the South St. Paul airport and
Wings, Inc. at the St. Paul Downtown Airport. He was a pilot for AirEmergency and recalls many babies
being born mid-air, under his watch. Prior to joining NWA, he served as chief pilot for AmsOil out of
Greg exemplified all that anyone could hope for in a pilot: humility, skill, selflessness, and courage. He
was trusted and respected within the U.S. aviation community for his abilities as well as his mentorship.
And to all this, he was a beloved husband, father, brother, grandpa, and friend. Greg was deeply
devoted to his family and wife, who he held the door for throughout their 43 years of marriage.
A celebration of life will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Oct. 25 at Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center at 2800 Curve Crest
Blvd., Stillwater, MN, 55082. Fort Snelling Military Honors burial ceremony will be on October, 26th, please meet at Fort Snelling National Cemetery (7061 34th avenue south, Minneapolis MN) Assembly Area #2 at 12:45 PM.