Southborough family seeks assistance after loss – Norman Wellman, 53

by alyssa on June 12, 2014

Post image for Southborough family seeks assistance after loss – Norman Wellman, 53

Above: The Wellman family Right to Left: Norman Wellman, Janet Wellman, Robert Wild, and Kathleen Livernois (Contributed photo)

A former Southborough family in crisis is reaching out to their old hometown for support.

Kathleen Livernois and Janet Wellman are the stepdaughter and wife of Norman Wellman. Norman was a 48-year resident of Southborough until four years ago. He passed away on June 5, 2014, in Reno, NV after a longtime battle with depression.

Livernois recalls her father as “a very smart man, who always knew every answer on Jeopardy.” He was a Nobel man, who loved music and going to concerts and the atmosphere of meeting new people who also enjoyed having cookouts on the porch of his home in Southborough with his friends and family. “That was his favorite thing [to do],” she said.

With the unexpected loss, the Wellman family is running into financial trouble. At the age of 49, Janet Wellman, is suffering from degenerative disk arthritis and needs double hip surgery.

“She has severe arthritis in both sides of her hip . . . it’s very hard for her to walk, and she’s in so much pain continually,” said Livernois.

Four years ago, the Wellman’s moved to Reno, Nevada. Livernois is now trying to get her mother back to the east coast so she can care for her after her surgery in August.

With only $3 in Livernois’ bank account, she can’t care for her mother or cover her father’s cremation expenses.

She said, “It’s so scary being in financial trouble. It’s hard to look in your bank account and it reads $3 every time you get paid because you need to pay the bills. It’s hard to never know if you’ll have a roof over your head the next month or not . . .  It’s depressing and demeaning not to be able to afford what you need to live. Asking for help is so hard – this is the first time I’ve ever had to put my walls down and actually ask for help.”

Livernois has set up a fundraiser goal of $3,000 by the end of the month on

“I hate to ask for money but if you can donate anything, even $5, it would help us greatly. Every penny counts right now. If you can’t afford to help us with money please help us with prayers,” she said.

Classmate of Livernois, Meghan Johnson said, in an email, “I feel too often Southborough residents forget that not everyone in town may be able to afford the same things they can.”

Livernois said, “I just want people to realize how great my dad was. And how much pain my mom’s in, both inside and outside. . .

We couldn’t get him help mentally when he needed it and now my brother and I want to do anything we can to make sure my mom still gets the surgery and help she needs, including mentally.”

To support the Wellman family, click here.

1 Southboro resident June 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Southboro records show that Norman and Janet Wellman divorced several years ago. Reno records shoe that he was not married at the time of his death. The surviving Wellmans are lifelong residents of Southboro. Does anyone check facts before posting?

2 beth June 12, 2014 at 3:18 PM

1. I’m not sure what Southborough records you are referring to. This isn’t something kept on file at Town Clerk’s office.

2. As for checking facts, I do not dig into people’s personal records (marriage licenses, etc.)

3. According to Janet’s daughter, you are technically correct – but that they were living as husband and wife.

Kathleen explains that 6 months after they divorced, they reunited and lived together ever since.

She says that they were together for 20 years, still called each other husband and wife, shared all bank accounts, and acted like a married couple, even wearing their rings.

3 Amanda June 13, 2014 at 10:37 PM

I met Janet and Norman 4 years ago and know them very well. In fact they opened there home up to me and I was able to enjoy there company on thanksgiving. They were one of the sweetest and nicest couples I’ve met. Shame on all who talk foul of someone who is decreased and of his wife and yes I say wife because that is what I witnessed a happy loving couple. Whether it be legal or common law, it does not matter they were one of the sweetest people ive had the pleasure of being around. I don’t have much but you can bet I’m donating, because this is a family in need and I help those who have helped others. I am so so sorry for your loss janet and family :-(

4 Southboro resident June 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Actually Norman lived with a friend in Marlboro from September of 2006 until November of 2007 and worked at Fidelity in Marlboro.

5 krystal June 12, 2014 at 3:43 PM

So what if they were not married at time of death? Does that change the fact that he was a father,a partner…someone that people loved..who was suffering and now are the people he loved

6 LJ June 12, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Hmmm, that’s interesting information. The discrepancy in information makes me uncomfortable to give at this time.

7 Matthew June 12, 2014 at 8:27 PM

If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t like their back story then give to the Food Pantry. It will get to those in need and you will never need to know who they are. Anyone can tell a similar story given the right misfortune.
Just give. There are more reasons to do it than not to.

8 CC June 12, 2014 at 8:48 PM

There is no obit for him in either Reno or MA.

9 beth June 13, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Correct. I have assumed because of the sad circumstances of death.

Obituaries aren’t automatically issued, they are submitted by family members.

I have heard from apparent family members questioning some details. But everyone seems to be in agreement that Norman did live in town and did recently die.

10 Louise June 13, 2014 at 6:48 AM

Just give. I don’t think so. This is sketchy at best. Don’t publish this if full back ground

hasn’t been confirmed

11 beth June 13, 2014 at 8:37 AM

I can’t confirm all the details. I had to make a judgement about whether to share or not. Since these people were from our town, I decided to share their story.

The idea was to reach out to people who used to know them. If either woman was an old friend of mine, I would want to know the family needs help.

If you remember the women involved and have good feelings about them, you may want to offer support.

That doesn’t mean I am advocating for strangers to give away their money. Everyone has to use their own judgement.

12 beth June 13, 2014 at 8:42 AM

The “just give” by Matthew appears to be intended to say just give to charity of some kind for those in need. (Not this specific family.)

13 Family friend June 13, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Obit is getting done either today or tomorrow. The family didn’t have the heart to do it right away due to the reason for his death and having to deal with everything else that’s going on as well. As you can see some people aren’t very nice about his passing. There is however if you don’t believe the story a police report you can call for ion reno nv if this is an issue. Also the background story isn’t all stars and smiles. As you can tell there has been a lot of hardships. The family didn’t think they would have to tell you all their downs and heartbreak in the relationship in order to ask for help. They were a family who deeply loved eachother and are really broken and suffering right now.

14 John Kendall June 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Yes, Norman grew up on Parker Street in Cordaville

15 South Train June 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Although I do not know anyone in this family, I want to extend my sincere sympathy to all those who knew and loved Norman Wellman. Depression is an illness…and no doubt he suffered greatly before his death.

We live in a world where we are taught to look for red flags. I think it was smart of Beth to clarify that the idea of this letter was to reach out to people who use to know them.

Living in Southborough does not protect anyone from the burdens of unemployment, limited income, lack of transportation and unmet health needs.

16 Dave June 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Your all a bunch of sad storys. I don’t personally know Norman but my wife does he was actually like a second dad to her. So to see all these comments about people arguing over where he lived and all that crap shows just how disgusting human nature is. Fact of it all, is Norman is now gone and his family is going to miss him. His daughter set up a webpage fund to help her family out in a time of crisis which shows me she cares an awful lot for her family. There is no expectation to give but for those who want to then they can. I seriously hope no other person feels the need to argue over his life or the ethics of giving money. I hope you understand in the future how to better give any sort of condolence instead towards a family in Crisis.

17 Disgusted June 13, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Everyone arguing about the little specifics of where he lived or his relationship with his wife should be ashamed of themselves. All I see are a bunch of people who have money to give but are just looking for reasons not to so they can feel better about their refusal to help. I hope the next time you need help, you get the same treatment. A woman lost her partner and is now going through extreme physical pain. Her daughter is emotionally distraught because of her inability to help and probably feels pretty damn helpless herself. It’s call being a community.

18 Long time Southborough resident June 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I am a born and raised Southborough resident and what a sad day for this town to have such selfish, snotty current residents have the nerve to say such crap for this grieving family (who still has two sisters that reside in this town) that they call home. WOW I am so saddened to read all this. I hope you can live and sleep with yourselves knowing you had the audacity to write such heartless stuff. Go volunteer at homeless shelter or food pantry.

19 Kate June 13, 2014 at 6:51 PM

I may be wrong, but with all of the recent coverage about scams (including requests for money owing to tragic circumstances), is it any wonder that people might be skeptical when they read a sad story like this, and then are made aware of discrepancies? I have absolutely no doubt that the individuals involved are in pain, but also recognize that folks might be hesitant to give if they do not personally know the family in question. Beth herself says that some apparent family members are questioning details. It seems to me that some of the comments are unnecessarily judgmental and harsh.

20 Sue June 15, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Janet is my sister and Norman was my brother in law. They had their ups and downs like all people, but they loved and cared very much for each other. This is not a scam I assure you! I am trying to find ways I can help her from where I live. I am so happy to read all the positive comments about Norman and his family. He and I shared many laughs about Lost in Space shows and both enjoyed “oldies” music. He made me several cassette tapes and a full series of VHS of Lost in Space. I will always remember him as ready to help others, ready with a laugh. He will be missed and I promise you that your help will be immensely by the entire family. Thank you.

21 Michelle June 16, 2014 at 6:36 PM

I am Janet’s coworker here in reno. NONE of this is a scam. Norman and Janet did get legally divorced and later got back together but never remarried. Which is NO ONE’S business but theirs. Whoever is trying to claim fraud or thinks they know the story by seeing that they were divorced needs to leave this poor family alone! You do not know them or their situation. Janet needs help getting home and help with her surgeries. You should be ashamed of yourself for acting all high and mighty when you don’t know anything that is going on

22 A Parent June 17, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Michelle-Anyone who doesn’t know the family has every right to be skeptical. There is nothing wrong about being cautious. Please do not use such strong words to them. “You should be ashamed of yourself for acting all high and mighty when you don’t know anything that is going on.” This is too harsh. Learn from Sue’s comments. They are a lot better and helpful too.

23 resident June 17, 2014 at 2:53 PM

These comments would do nothing to make me want to donate to them. Nobody is being high and mighty but when something doesn’t seem right people have the right to question it. They are after all ASKING for OUR money. How many times do people give to something like this and then find out it is a scam. I don’t know these people, will probably never know these people but there is an awful lot of defending going on here. IF I were to donate, I would question everything. YOU should be ashamed of yourself for acting the way you are. Oh, and by the way, just because you say you are who you are, doesn’t mean you really are. You could be my next door neighbor. So, the attempt at public shaming the people of Southboro really doesn’t work. There are a million Michelle’s in the world. If this woman is as bad as they portray how is she working to be your co-worker? It is our money you are asking for so we do have the right to question what we want.

24 Sue June 17, 2014 at 9:02 PM

What a sad world we live in. Especially with all this online stuff of who are you really, etc. I am skeptical to about scams, etc., but when I decide to give to a charity or a cause, I do it with an open heart. I was taught that the blessing is in the giving. If you are giving for “brownie points” or to control people, those are the wrong reasons. I am far from well off, but enjoy the feeling of helping others, generally anonymously, trusting that the blessing is in the giving. What they do with the money is their business, but I gave with good intentions. I have alot of fond memories of visiting with Janet and Norman and his family in Southborough…Halloween with his sister, cookouts with his parents, etc. They were a very nice family. I think this has gotten out of hand (as lots does with social media). The bottom line is Norman is gone, nothing can bring him back, and Janet needs some help. Doesn’t matter anything about their history, etc. Sometimes I miss the old days when everyone helped everyone else without doubt.

25 Publius June 17, 2014 at 10:57 PM

There is nothing wrong with being cautious or skeptical. There is everything wrong with being cruel and callous.

26 JOJAMA June 18, 2014 at 7:53 AM

I am diligent when I donate to charities. I want to make sure that the highest percentage of my donation will go directly to the charity. Certain charities hold back a certain percentage for admin. costs, salaries, etc. Others give 100% of donations directly to the charity. So why is it wrong to do our due diligence in investigating where the monies go?
If it is on the up-and-up, the charity recipients/co-workers/friends shouldn’t feel threatened by inquiries. They should welcome the scrutiny the set them above what people suspect.

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