Brianna Wells was born on Third Month, 25th, 1997 in Phoenix, Arizona. She and her two older siblings entered the life of Tempe Monthly Meeting in 2002 as part of the family of David and Rochelle Wells. She died on Twelfth Month, 29th, 2014.
Tempe Meeting is shocked and saddened by her tragic passing. We grieve the loss of a beloved participant in our community.
From the beginning, Brianna enjoyed the social life of the Meeting, playing tag and hide-n-seek on the meetinghouse grounds, Peace Park, and in the park-like expanse of the adjoining Lutheran Church. As the years passed, she formed intense friendships with other young Tempe Friends, who came to regard themselves as siblings. As Brianna moved into her teen years, she would often spend her time during First Day helping to care for the Meeting's infants and toddlers.
Brianna's sense of compassion extended to animals as well. She especially loved dogs and horses. She cared for her family's dogs, feeding, grooming and walking them. In 2013 she volunteered for the “Lost Our Home” pet foundation in Tempe. In high school, her career goal was to become a K-9 police officer. Her reason: “Because they help people.”
Brianna participated in the wider life of the Meeting as well. She attended Intermountain Yearly Meeting sessions at Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, New Mexico, each summer from 2010 through 2013. While there, she formed friendships with both her peers and older Friends. She also attended the Mountain Friends Camp each summer from 2011 through 2013 where she enjoyed helping in the kitchen and participating in the life of that loving community. Closer to home, she joined the rest of Tempe Meeting in serving food to the homeless at Paz De Cristo and later via the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (IHELP).
She loved physical activities. As a child, tree climbing was a favorite pastime both in the park near her family home and at the meetinghouse. She also loved to sprint, and was on her middle-school track team. She was frequently found shooting hoops outside her house or with the guests at the monthly IHELP meal. Swimming with family and friends was another favorite activity. She often went along on her family's outings: camping, hiking, kayaking and river-rafting.
Brianna had a domestic side as well. She liked cooking, baking and creating inventive snacks and desserts.
Around adults Brianna was often reserved, but her peers frequently characterized her as “sweet and funny.” She had an exuberant spontaneity and intensity that endeared her to her friends, and a capacity for goofy clowning that would make them roll with laughter. She had a feisty loyalty for her siblings and friends; quickly leaping to their defense when she felt they were wronged or slandered.
Brianna wrestled with the turbulence of her inner life through writing: both poetry and journals, and through drawing. Brianna loved music in a variety of genres ranging from Country to Rap. Like many teens, she favored songs that expressed aspects of her own struggles with life.
In her teen years, Brianna's smile, once rare, became increasingly frequent, filling her whole person with a radiant beauty.
Brianna is survived by her parents, Rochelle Wells of Tempe, Dave Wells of Mesa, her older siblings, Jacob and Kimberly Wells, and her grandparents: Joan Wells and Stewart Fritts of North Haven, CT, and Lydia and Jim Roberts of Manassas, VA.