Jean Stewart Wells Cloudt
May 14, 1929 - June 16, 2013
Jean Stewart Wells Cloudt was born May 14, 1929 in Prescott, the youngest child and only daughter of Edith and Lyle Wells. She died June 16, 2013.
The Wells family had moved from Lewistown, Mont. in about 1922 to Oakland, Calif. where Jean’s father was an engineer for RKO Radio. When the cold, damp weather of Oakland started to bother Lyle’s lungs, the family headed to Phoenix in the middle of the summer. Jean’s mother, Edith stated that they were just looking to get out of the heat and headed to the pine trees of Prescott. They loved the area and settled in Humboldt after Jean was born. When she was 3 years old, her parents divorced and her mother married Mike Bozick of Humboldt, who raised Jean and her three brothers and was married to Jean’s mother, Edith for 53 years. Both later became residents of Payson, where they made their home for more than 25 years.
When Jean was 18, she met a young cowboy, Francis Cloudt, who was working on his uncle’s ranch in Cherry, Ariz. between Dewey and Camp Verde. They met at a dance in Mayer, Ariz., and were married Nov. 25, 1947 in Prescott.
Jean and Francis moved to the ranch at Cherry. Their first child, Mark, was born in Phoenix in 1949 and Cherie Ann was born in 1951 in Prescott.
Francis took a ranch job near Flagstaff and Jean worked at Meteor Crater, but Francis was offered a foreman job and he moved the family to the Q Ranch in Young, where a second son, Franz, was born 1953. After the last son was born, Francis took a job as foreman of the 76 Ranch in Rye.
In 1955, the family moved to the Flying V Ranch in Valentine, Ariz., outside Kingman. The ranch owned a small motel with five cabins and Jean was told by the ranch owner that if she wanted to clean up the cabins and rent them out she could have the profits. Money was scarce for ranching families, so Jean polished up the old brass beds and cleaned out the cobwebs. The motel was on the old Route 66 with a nice seasonal creek in front and offered a nice house that was attached to the motel. People would stop from time to time to rent a room.
After Cherie was involved in a horseback riding accident in 1956, the family moved back to Humboldt to be closer to family and doctors in Phoenix. Francis worked on ranches in the area and in 1957 he took a foreman job on the Spider Ranch northwest of Prescott. The family loved living there and Jean talked often of her girlfriends that lived on neighboring ranches: Roni Harper, Winnie Pehl and Roberts Jones.
She and Francis were great dancers and loved going to the dances in Kirkland and Chino Valley.
In the fall of 1961, the family moved to the Thumb Butte Ranch in Prescott and Jean gave birth to her youngest daughter, Edith, in January 1962.
Francis quit ranching and took a job in construction to support the family. Since he was building right-of-way fences on road jobs, the family moved a lot and Jean took it all in stride. She could pack up the Oldsmobile and the pickup with all the family possessions and be ready to move in a day. The moves took them around Arizona, Nevada, western New Mexico, and even to Blythe, Calif. Jean continued to be a housewife and mother during this time, but was always making craft items that she saw patterns for in Good Housekeeping or other women’s magazines.
In 1965, she decided she was tired of moving and her oldest son, Mark, was ready for high school. After a summer job in Gisela, Francis and Jean bought their first house on Oxbow Drive in Payson and the family settled down. Francis continued to work construction and Jean took a job as an aide at the hospital, which is now Payson Regional Medical Center. She loved working at the hospital and all the people that she worked with as well as patients she met. She finally trained as a surgical technician and worked surgery, emergency room and obstetrics. She was in on the delivery of many of Payson’s citizens, as well as some of her own grandchildren.
Francis retired from construction and he and Jean built a feed store, boarding stables and kennels on the corner of Granite Dells and Bentley roads. The business was a success as it was the only feed store in town and was usually overbooked with horses and dogs, especially in the summer or during rodeo season. Jean loved all the animals and took in many strays.
After Francis passed away in 1976, Jean closed the feed store and set up Rim Country Veterinary Clinic with Lorenzo Gonzales. Jean continued to work with Lorenzo until she fell and broke her hip while X-raying a dog. She took care of the bookkeeping, cleaning, and assisted Dr. Gonzales until her health began to deteriorate about five years ago.
She loved her animals and her family, sometimes in that order. She helped everyone she met and no one ever left her house hungry or without a cup of coffee. She was a great mother, daughter, wife, friend, and will be missed by many, especially by her two little dogs, Libby and Ratchet.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Edith Bozick and stepfather, Mike Bozick, both of Payson; her husband of 25 years, Francis Cloudt; two brothers, Fred Wells of Prescott and Homer Wells of Tonto Basin. She is survived by four children, Mark Cloudt (Ruth) of Scottsdale and Alaska, Cherie Ann Cloudt of Goldfield, Ariz., Franz Cloudt (Kim) of Bayfield, Colo., and Edith Mackie (Ralph) of Craig, Alaska; 11 grandchildren, Francis, Schylar, Christian, Amber, Travis, Kaleb, Tony, Tylel, Amanda, Lauren and Aspen; six great-grandchildren; one brother, Lyle Jr. Wells of Henderson, Nev. and longtime friend and business partner, Lorenzo Gonzales.
Graveside services were held at 9 a.m. Friday, June 21 at Mountain Meadows Memorial Park.
The family asks that donations be made at woundedwarriorproject.org.