Lisa Gail Johns Wells

November 1, 1961May 18, 2013

Lisa Johns Wells, 51, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly due to complications from pneumonia during the early morning hours of Saturday, May 18, 2013 at her home in Jacksonville, FL. She was born at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina to Curtis and Faye Johns while her father was stationed at there. At the end of her father’s military career in 1966, he brought his family to Jacksonville where Curtis and Faye settled and raised their two daughters. Lisa attended Ramona Elementary and graduated from Ed White High School in 1979. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and Reading at the University of North Florida. Lisa began her 30-year career in Duval County Public Schools teaching a class of Kindergarteners at Brentwood Elementary. She later moved to West Riverside Elementary where she was named Teacher of the Year and again taught Kindergarten before training as a first grade reading interventionist in the Reading Recovery program. Excelling in that role, Lisa accepted an opportunity to attend a year-long residency program at The Ohio State University to earn credentials as a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader. In 2001, she returned to Duval County to coordinate all aspects of the Reading Recovery program which included teaching children, providing professional development workshops, and training Reading Recovery teachers as an adjunct professor at the University of North Florida, then later at Jacksonville University. In 2007, she joined the Academic Services department as an elementary literacy specialist where she provided support to Duval County’s elementary teachers, coaches, and principals in addition to developing and conducting professional development sessions in support of the district’s literacy initiatives. Lisa recently chose to reconnect with the day-to-day lives of young children by joining the faculty at Pickett Elementary as a first grade classroom teacher. Over the past five months, friends and family were treated to her animated stories about the young children in her charge. She radiated immeasurable happiness and considered it a privilege to make a positive contribution shaping the lives of her students. Lisa was the immediate Past-President of the Duval County Reading Council, an organization of more than 1,700 educators interested in literacy. She served as the organization’s president in 2011-12 after volunteering in many roles over the years. Under her direction, DCRC continued its mission of offering members the opportunity to learn from nationally recognized speakers in addition to participating in literacy projects to support the local Hubbard House and the international Pennies for Peace campaign, to name a few. Poise, grace, and a smile that stretched for miles were her hallmark characteristics. Her leadership, camaraderie, and friendship will be greatly missed. Lisa was preceded in death by her beloved father, Curtis Johns, in 2011, and her grandparents, Rozier and Mary Ausley of NC and Audley and Lura Johns of Jacksonville. She is survived by her devoted husband, Sam, who was the love of her life and best friend. She is also survived by her loving mother, Edith Faye Johns, her sister, Kathy Marshman, brother-in-law, Rick, (all of Jacksonville) and adored nephew, Ross (Tallahassee), and a multitude of dear friends who are grieving the loss of this special lady who enriched their lives in so many ways. Lisa and Sam roamed Florida and Georgia on the weekends in pursuit of spontaneous adventures that satisfied their love of life and all things about nature. While they occasionally took longer vacations, day trips were their specialty as they squeezed fun-filled explorations into their busy schedules. Lisa wasn’t one to sit around and watch the world go by; she wanted to take advantage of what life had to offer and felt so blessed to be taking that journey with Sam. She was fascinated with many creatures in the wild, especially manatees, spoonbills, and sea turtles. Friends knew that Lisa had arrived ahead of them when they spotted her car with the Help Save the Sea Turtles tag already in the parking lot. She shared this passion with her first graders by adopting a sea turtle for the class through the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation. During the last weeks of her life, paper plate sea turtles adorned the walls of the hallway near her classroom with captions written by the children to share their new learning with visitors. Few individuals in this world are fortunate enough to be called a close and special friend by so many people as was Lisa. She was respected in her professional life for her knowledge, expertise, and integrity; and cherished in her personal life as a kind, trustworthy, and all-round convivial person. She could light up any room with her smile. Those who loved her will never understand why she had to leave us so soon; but we do know that while on this earth Lisa Wells made a difference. “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.” - William Butler Yeats A celebration of life service will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:00 am at Westside Baptist Church located at 7775 Herlong Rd., Jax. FL 32210; reception to follow. Pastor Tommy Mallard officiating. Burial service is private. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Hardage-Giddens Town and Country Funeral Home located at 7242 Normandy Blvd., Jax., FL 32205. Please sign the online guest book at In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Reading Recovery Council of North America or the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation.


  • Funeral Service Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lisa Gail Johns Wells

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Rich Pezzullo

September 6, 2016

I've known Lisa since we met in Germany decades ago. We had kept in touch over the years and were supposed to see each other in 2003. That trip fell through, but we always meant to visit 'at some time'. It's disappointing to learn that "sometime" has run out. She loved teaching and helping kids.

Jane Bowman

October 4, 2013

Lisa was my son's kindergarten teacher at West Riverside Elementary. She was a terrific teacher and we loved her!

Sheryl Lepera

October 3, 2013

Lisa was one of my Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders. Everyday, my students benefit from all the learning I received from her caring and enthusiastic teaching. I will always be grateful for her for that.

Laura Palmeri (Conner)

June 17, 2013

"Lisa was truly an amazing reading coach, teacher and person. I enjoyed getting to know her these past few years. She taught me a lot about reading and always made my day better when she visited my classroom. Lisa and her family are in my thoughts and prayers."

Mary Oliver

June 13, 2013

When I learned Lisa had passed away, it brought forth a flood of memories. I knew Lisa through my friendship with Kathy in high school, I remember a sparkling, upbeat, kind and smiling (what a smile) girl. She absolutely adored her sister and parents; was so smart and had a bit of an independent streak; from what I'm reading about her life she only became more so. I wish I could offer more than sympathy to all of you; please know we all offer our prayers and love to you. Lean on each other.

Susan Fullerton

June 9, 2013

I was so very fortunate to work with Lisa when she attended Ohio State for Reading Recovery training. As one of her professors, I can only second what has been stated about her warmth, kindness, intelligence, and ability to make others feel happy and special. Every child and every adult that she taught basked in that warmth and that desire to share her vast knowledge. This is a loss to all of us, but Sam, I cannot imagine yours--I can remember when Lisa first introduced me while you were dating (at a RR Institute). Lisa was always a joyful person, but you brought even more happiness into her life! All of what you have written about her Sam, was expressed by Lisa about you to all of her friends. I am so glad that you came into her life and brought her such joy! I last saw Lisa at the IRA conference in Jacksonville, and she once again shared how happy she was. I wish you and all of Lisa's family God's grace and peace and will keep you in my prayers.
Susan King Fullerton

Patti Maier

June 9, 2013

Lisa was a special person who was a friend and great colleague at Ohio State University. Sam and Lisa's family, I wish you strength. My prayers are with you. Lisa is watching down and smiling her big smile on all of you.Patti Maier

Barbara Collins

June 5, 2013

Truly Sam, I know so many are praying for you and keeping you in their thoughts. Brenda Stallings was so right in her entry about all the things you miss about Lisa that only you could know. I knew her best when she was younger and just starting out in teaching. She had some rough times for awhile and so did I. We were both there for each other and kept a special bond whenever we would see each other as the years went by. I'm so glad she found you and had those years of love and fulfillment with someone who could be her best friend and soulmate. I know your loss is huge. Please know as an old friend of Lisa's, you are in my prayers and thoughts and I wish you peace and healing as time goes on. Be strong and know she will be with you always also in your heart and memories.

Brenda Luckie Stallings

June 4, 2013

Sam, we (my family) are praying for you daily. We think about you and the Johns everyday as well. We all know how special Lisa was, but you knew her more than us and although we miss her..... You miss her spirit, her touch and her warmth. Keep your head up and know that you are in Gods arms.

June 3, 2013

All the best