It is with a broken heart that I share with you the passing of my cousin, Ian Sonne Wells. Affectionately known as Rowdy Wells, Big Bear, Welsie or the man from the Wild West. Ian’s death was sudden and not expected. He is predeceased by his father Alan Wells and leaves behind a brother Timo Wells who he loved dearly and deeply, his mother Karin Bolette Sonne, and aunts, uncles and cousins who all loved and supported him. Ian took his own life at 36 years of age on December 13, 2021, in Revelstoke B.C.
Ian was born in Sudbury on April 16, 1985, his early childhood was spent in Sudbury, North Bay, Victoria, and Orillia. In his teens he moved to Toronto and then up to Thunder Bay where he graduated from Lakehead University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Mapping. A proud day for him and all of us. From there he traveled across the country to Salmon Arm BC and most recently had settled in Revelstoke.
Ian demonstrated resilience in the face of great adversity throughout his life. He was intensely and fiercely passionate, honest, kind, focused and determined. He loved the rugged, real, raw side of life and laughed full heartedly. He was a good listener and curious about the stories of others. His favorite past time was to sit with and listen to old timers retell stories about prospecting. Friends described him as, “too tough to die” and “a light on this earth like no other”. There was nothing superficial about Ian, he connected deeply with others.
Ian loved and thrived in the great outdoors. This was nurtured while on an Outward Bound expedition in Grade 12 to Thunder Bay. This adventure launched him into a world of dogsledding, hiking, skiing, extreme sports, tree planting (Wells Angels for Life), geographic mapping, history, prospecting, and gold panning.
He created community wherever he went, and people were naturally drawn to him. He brought neighbours and people together around his highly prosperous garden, good food, fresh bread, drinks, and parities. He was known to often be the last one standing and is a reminder of how important social gatherings with friends are.
He loved live music and he loved to dance. His favorites included Rage Against the Machine, White Stripes, Blue Grass and anything from Three on a Tree by the United Steel Workers of Montreal.
Ian was drawn to physical discomfort to mask the pain. Most people sit in forests and meditate. Ian let it “thrash him” as he would often go on long runs through the bush. He made friends with wild foxes and survived in the wilderness (summer and winter) while connecting to and exploring new lands in his prospecting and gold panning adventures. He was an old soul who was from another time.
He loved his quilts (thank you Grama Wells), the Blues Brothers, bon fires, hand knit sweaters and hats, easter egg hunts, blue cheese, herring and black licorice. He was special. On December 13 we lost one of the good ones in this world. A kind, sensitive, intelligent, individual who wasn’t afraid to explore and take chances, while running away from a deeply rooted pain.
He is remembered by his family of origin but also the family he created. Matt, Krista, Shaela, Katie, Brice, Carolyn B and countless others whose lives he touched. While we were privileged to have had the first 21 years, friends, and the community he created up North and out west benefited from his last 15 years. I am grateful to you all for the love and friendship you shared with Ian.
He struggled to exist fully and authentically in our world. He wanted people to know he was sorry for any pain he may have caused. It was just too hard to continue. He was deeply grateful for your love and your friendship.
I encourage you to remember Ian through friendships over good food, good music, and a rum and coke or a Blue Ribbon beer. Perhaps around a bon fire, potluck or if lucky, one day, in a mosh pit.
Ian will be cremated, and his ashes spread in the spring in Thunder Bay on the Kaministiquia River. A place that was close to his heart. He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed by all.
To send flowers to Ian's family, please visit our floral store.