Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Michael Byron Wells

RAMSAY, Mich. - Michael Byron Wells, 77, of Ramsay, as promised, rode his little red tricycle into Eternity on Friday, May 5, 2023. He passed away after a mercifully brief struggle with complications related to lung cancer.

Michael was born May 27, 1945, in Wisconsin, adopted as an infant and raised by B.K. and Orpha Wells in Madison, Wisconsin. Growing up, he was a prodigal visual artist, musician, swimmer and outdoorsman. Many of his country-spanning adventures in the mid-to late 1960s are now lost to history. An eager student of early blues guitar, Mike learned directly from the likes of Big Joe Williams, Sleepy John Estes, Son House, and others, as they enjoyed a resurgence in popularity during the 60s folk revival and often played the Avant Garde coffeehouse in Milwaukee. He would perform occasionally in clubs for two decades, playing blues standards and a handful of original songs.

By 1967, Mike was a father to Erin, and husband to Jean. Following a divorce several years later, he met and fell in love with Valerie, and they were wed in 1980. They raised three sons and remained together for nearly 43 years.

Mike was employed in nearly every field of blue collar work there was, from delivering papers on bicycle to delivering parcels by truck; factory work to wood work; farm hand to dock worker; landscaping to screen printing; demolition derbies to driving school buses.

Mike proudly saw his children grow to become independent-minded workers, artists and travelers. Mike and Val eventually retired to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he thrived being around forests, waterfalls and all of the natural wonders there.

Throughout his life, Mike's curiosity was rarely satisfied, his frustration with the world around him perhaps never reconciled. His was a mind frequently bothered by unanswered questions. But in his final years, he undoubtedly found some peace with himself, and embraced unconditional love for the people around him. And if Heaven is a stop on his journey, it should be noted that he is at the gate, and he's not leaving without getting some answers.

Michael is survived by his heroic and patient wife, Val; his daughter, Erin; and sons, Matthew, Jeffrey and Brendan.

As per his wishes, there will be no funeral, memorial service, or marker.

"Well, there you go. Never make plans."

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to