The 2010 Florida Legislature recently enacted a bill naming a portion of State Road 277 the Judge Perry Wells Highway.
The dedicated highway is located between SR 79 in Vernon and US Highway 90 in Chipley. The official dedication ceremonies will span Sept. 22 and 23 at the Washington County Ag Center in Chipley, FL.
Judge Perry Wells is a retired County Judge in Washington County and served from 1977 until 1992.
Wells and wife, Hester, reside in Chipley where he is active in numerous County functions, civic and religious organizations and popular community events.
Signs showing the highway’s new name will be placed at the intersections of SR 277 and US Highway 90 in Chipley and SR 277 and SR 79 in Vernon.
An unveiling ceremony will be held Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 11 a.m. at the Washington County Agricultural Center on Jackson Avenue. The public is invited to attend both the ceremony and reception that follows.
The Washington County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a dedication banquet honoring the Judge on Thursday, September 23, 2010, at 6 p.m. also at the Washington County Agricultural Center. Tickets for the event are $15 and may be obtained from the Chamber.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Washington County Historical Society and the Vernon Historical Society.
Judge Wells, the son of Hugh T. Wells and Marie Harris Wells, was born in the Five Points Community in 1927, and is one of eight children.
He graduated from Vernon High School in 1944 and was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served two tours of duty. His second tour was with the escort detachment that accompanied the remains of those killed in World War II to their hometowns for burial.
The Judge graduated from the University of Florida in 1952, and went to work for Sears, Roebuck & Co. where his many jobs included participation in the opening of the first Sears retail store in downtown Panama City, and as Warehouse Manager.
Judge Wells later spent over 11 years with the Florida Parole and Probation Commission in Panama City, and then moved back home to Washington County in 1970, to open the Sears Catalog Merchant Store.
His other business ventures in the county include the Montgomery Ward Agency Store, FRM Feed Store, Wells Brothers Department Store and the Northwest Florida Music Park.
Wells, a devotee of bluegrass music, hosted his own program on WBGC Radio for 22 years.
He served as chairman of the Panhandle Watermelon Festival for 30 years and as Entertainment Chairman for the 1982 Chipley Centennial Celebration.
For the past seven years he has maintained a column, “Perry’s Prattle”, in the Washington County News. The Judge’s public service continues with his role as Vice-President of the Washington County Historical Society and his active membership in the Vernon Historical Society.
He is a constituting member of Chipley Chapel Primitive Baptist Church. The Wells have four adult sons and eight grandchildren.
More information about the dedication ceremonies, including tickets to the tribute banquet, is available by calling the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, 850.638.4157.