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In Loving Memory

April 10, 2013

You always hear about love at first sight, and for many people who haven't experienced it, it seems mythical. To Lt. Col. Joseph Wellman '51, it was reality. A Danville native, Wellman met Alma when she was a nurse at Memorial Hospital. A high school friend had "met a nice girl at the nurses' quarters" and was going to visit her. He invited Wellman to go with him. "I met this lady, and she knocked me off my feet." He had to keep pursuing her until she said yes. They were married in 1954.

Wellman joined the service once he graduated from college. He chose to join the Air Force because he wanted to fly airplanes. This allowed the couple to travel the world together, living in Saudi Arabia, England and Germany. His most memorable station was London – where they lived for three years. He had stopped flying by that time and worked in an office downtown near the embassy coordinating with other Air Force Bases in Great Britain (there were 8-10 in England).

Alma continued her nursing career once they were married and even after he retired. He estimates she was a nurse for 34 years. "Her heart was as big as a bucket. She always thought of other people and thrived on doing things for others."

Their life together ended recently with Alma's passing. "I thought the best thing I could do was let her live on in something," so he contacted his alma mater and created the Alma Nuckles Wellman Nursing Scholarship in honor and memory of his beloved wife. The annual scholarship will be awarded on a yearly basis to a student who is pursuing a degree in nursing.

"I was privileged to do it," Wellman said of creating the scholarship. "I hope to be able to do more for Averett as the years go on."