Dianne Wells, 52, teacher, safety activist

October 12, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dianne Puglia Wells, a retired Howard County middle school teacher who, along with her eighth-grade pupils, helped enact the first child bicycle helmet law in the nation in 1990, died of lung cancer Tuesday at Howard County General Hospital. She was 52.

Born and reared in Cheverly in Prince George's County, Ms. Wells was a 1967 graduate of High Point High School and earned her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Maryland in 1971. She earned a master's degree in modern studies from Loyola College in 1981.

Ms. Wells, who retained her maiden name after her 1992 marriage to Richard Brockway, began her teaching career at Glenwood Middle School in western Howard in 1976.

During her tenure at Glenwood, two pupils who were not wearing helmets were killed in bicycle-related accidents, and Ms. Wells and her eighth-grade class decided to do something about it. Their work resulted in legislation requiring those younger than age 15 to wear protective helmets while riding bicycles on county roads.

She was honored for her role in passing the law by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In 1998, Ms. Wells joined the faculty of Murray Hill Middle School in north Laurel, a job from which she retired this year.

During the 1970s and '80s, she worked as a waitress at Clyde's Restaurant and Picollo's Restaurant in Columbia.

Ms. Wells was an avid gardener who enjoyed attending performances of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She was also a member of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Nature Conservancy.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 19 at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sisters, Sue Ellen MacDonald of Columbia and Sandra Wells Mooney of Fenwick Island, Del.; and two stepsons, Mark D. Brockway of Rockville and Michael P. Brockway of Winter Park, Fla.

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