A. Judson Wells Jr., 90, of Cartmel in Pennsbury Township died on Feb. 19, after suffering a stroke.He was the husband of Mary Brewster Gunn, who died in 1993, and Nancy Jessup Edgar.
Born in Chicago, Ill., he was the son of the late A. Judson Sr. and Anna Shultz Wells.
Mr. Wells had a 39-year career at the DuPont Co. as a research chemist, research director and director of the Industrial Products Division of the Fabrics and Finishes Department. After he retired from DuPont in 1980, he retrained himself as an epidemiologist and published a series of 12 papers in public health journals on the health effects of smoking, in particular second-hand (passive) smoking, including the effects of smoking on breast cancer. In 1988 he published the first estimate of the number of people in the United States who died of second-hand smoke (50,000 people annually), an estimate that provided the first solid scientific basis for restrictions on smoking in public accommodations and in the work-place.
In 1941 he received his doctorate in physical chemistry from Harvard and began to work for the DuPont Co. He started as a research chemist at the Experimental Station, and later became a research supervisor and head of a new product development group.
After he retired from DuPont in 1980, he became a volunteer special assistant for the American Lung Association, and began reviewing the scientific literature on smoking and health and became active in the smoking and health research community. He concluded that the key scientific question for public policy purposes was the effect of passive smoking on health, because restrictions on smoking were only likely to occur if it could be demonstrated that one person's smoking created a health hazard for others.
He later became a volunteer consultant with the Environmental Protection Agency in preparing its landmark 1992 report on passive smoking and lung cancer, which led it to classify tobacco smoke as a Class A carcinogen. The EPA staff working on the project received a medal from the agency, which they presented to Mr. Wells in recognition of his key role in preparing the report.
He was an active member of four churches in the Wilmington area: the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, First and Olivet Presbyterian Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church and Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church. He also served for two years as president of Family Service of Northern Delaware and served for 13 years on the Allocation Committee of the United Way of Delaware. He was devoted to Harvard, serving on Overseers Committees to visit the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biology and Related Research Facilities. He was the President of the Association of Harvard Chemists and the Harvard Club of Delaware and Chairman of the Harvard Graduate Society Council.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by six children, Anne Harms, Harriet Shaw, Lucy Hausner, David Wells, Jack Wells, and Jane Wells; three stepchildren, Samuel Edgar, Michael Edgar, and Kate Edgar; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 8, at 11 a.m., at Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church, 101 Old Kennett Rodd, Wilmington. Interment will be private.
Contributions may be made to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, 100 W. 10th St., Suite 1115, Wilmington, DE 19801, or to the American Lung Association of Delaware, 1021 Gilpin Ave., Suite 202, Wilmington, DE 19806.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home, Kennett Square.
On-line condolences can be made at their Web site at www.griecofuneralhomes.com.