Wells, James Ralston, Jr.

Held Long Career With American National Bank And Trust Company

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Ralston Wells
Ralston Wells

James Ralston Wells, Jr., 88, son of the late Dr. James Ralston Wells and Mildred White Wells, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, August 6, 2013. 

Ralston was born in Merion, PA., on Sept. 20, 1924, and grew up in Daytona Beach, FL, where he was proud to have been a lifeguard.  He attended The McCallie School and graduated from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the SAE Fraternity.  He received his graduate degree from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.  During World War II, he served for three years in the armored artillery.

In 1950, Ralston married the love of his life Dorris Chapin, and together they created a wonderful home for their three children on Lookout Mountain.  He enjoyed playing golf and taking his children and grandchildren to Blue Springs Club where he taught them to hunt, fish and appreciate the outdoors.  His children fondly remember many weekends spent cooking out with friends and neighbors on Cinderella Road, family vacations in Florida, and fishing on the Suwannee River.   His children are grateful that he led by example in everything he did, demonstrating a solid work ethic, strong organizational skills and acute attention to detail.  He and Dorris loved laughing and having fun with their friends.  Some of their favorite times included playing golf in Highlands, rafting down the Ocoee River, enjoying their movie nights, hosting Super Bowl and 4th of July parties, and cruising the rivers in Europe.  Ralston also loved his big band and jazz music, a great joke, a big cigar, a cocktail on the porch, and dancing the night away.  But his greatest enjoyment came from spending time with his children and grandchildren, rehashing tales from the past and creating memories that they will cherish for a lifetime. 

Ralston had a wonderful career for nearly a half century in Chattanooga.  Prior to joining the Trust Department of the American National Bank and Trust Company of Chattanooga in 1950, (now SunTrust), he was employed by the Comptroller of the Currency as an assistant national bank examiner.  In 1965 he was made vice president and senior trust officer of the American National Bank and Trust Company in charge of the Personal Trust Department and in 1973, was selected to head the Trust Division as executive vice president – trust.

Ralston served as director of many companies including Chattanooga Bakery Inc., Duff Brothers, Inc., Alabama Coca Cola Bottling Company, and Senior Neighbors of Chattanooga.  He was past president of Junior Achievement of Chattanooga, the Trust Division of the Tennessee Bankers Association, the Estate Planning Council of Chattanooga, The Frye Institute, and the Chattanooga Chapter of the University of Virginia Alumni.  He served in various official capacities for the City of Lookout Mountain, GA, the Chattanooga Civitan Club, the Lookout Mountain Golf Club, the Allied Arts Fund, McCallie School Alumni Association, Chattanooga Audubon Society, the Legislative Council of The American Bankers Association, and the Blue Springs Club.  He was a faithful servant and member of the Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, where he served as both Deacon and Elder. He was a member of the Mountain City Club, Lookout Mountain Golf Club, and Fairyland Club.

Ralston was preceded in death by his wife, Dorris and his two older brothers, Alex and Peter. 

He is survived by his daughter, Carter Kay and her husband, Forde of Atlanta, his son, Ralston Wells  of Atlanta, and his daughter Mimi Patrick and husband Bailey of Charlotte, NC.  He is also survived by six grandchildren:  Will Kay, Chapin Kay, Maggie Kay, Bailey Patrick , Wells Patrick, and Carter Patrick. 

The family is grateful for the attention shown by all the caregivers of McCallister Personal Care Consultants, Hospice of Chattanooga and for the devotion of the Wells’ long time friend, Mary Goines.

A graveside service will be held at Forest Hill Cemetery at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 9.

Memorials may be made to the Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, 316 North Bragg Avenue, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350, or to Hospice of Chattanooga, 4411 Oakwood Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37416.

Visit www.heritagefh.com to share words of comfort to the family.

Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, East Brainerd Road.


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