The Anza Civic Improvement League dedicated a brand-new memorial bench in honor of Anza pioneer Bud Wellman Saturday, Nov. 4, at Minor Park.
Attending were the Wellman family, the ACIL Board of Directors and their families and members of the public.
James (Bud) Francis Wellman Jr. was a fourth-generation rancher born to the families who first homesteaded the Anza Valley area in the early 1800s, before it was called “Anza.” He grew up learning hunting, farming and cattle ranching. From 1927 through 1931, he attended the one-room “Hamilton Schoolhouse,” now known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, located in Minor Park and managed by the ACIL.
Wellman was also a WWII veteran. He was a submariner, often referred to as one of the most hazardous careers in the service.
When he returned from the war, Bud met and married Anita Upshaw. He learned to fly and owned and maintained his own airplane. He and Anita had four children; Ted, Dawn, Steve and Twila. But Anita died when Twila was only 12 years old, leaving Bud a widower.
A few years later, Bud met Bobbie and married for the second time. Bud’s children and her two sons, Ronald and Robert became a family
He raised cattle and ranched and was one of the true pioneers in the Anza Valley. He is fondly and respectfully remembered in the community.
“He always helped people,” said Barbara Bradford at his Memorial Saturday, Aug. 19.
“ACIL decided it was only fitting to pay respect to not only an icon of Anza but an actual alumnus of the schoolhouse,” said ACIL Board member Bud Elmore.
The memorial bench can be seen and enjoyed at the northeast end of the park near the poppy garden and the historical marker.
For more information about upcoming ACIL events, contact Bud Elmore at (951) 581-4409 or Ken Ogren at (619) 417-0125.