William Jackson Welch, 91, of Frederick, formerly of Oakland, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died Jan. 9, 2018, shortly after being admitted to Frederick Memorial Hospital. Bill lived with his wife, Pat, at their Oakland, home from 1957 until Pat's death in 2017, after which he lived in Frederick with his daughter and son-in-law.
Born Aug. 31, 1926, four miles south of Oakland at Gortner, Bill was predeceased by his wife of 68 years, Patricia Ann DeWitt Welch (2017); his parents, Paul W. Welch (1963) and Anna Elizabeth Alexander Welch (1981); one son, Gary Brent Welch (2003); and two grandchildren, Jessica Dawn Stark (1984), and Gage Thomas Welch (2011).
He is survived by three sons, William L. Welch and fiancé Sharon Stewart Oakland, and Chattanooga, Tenn., Robert J. Welch and wife Cindi, Cumberland, and Richard C. Welch, Oakland; one daughter, Paula G. Stark and husband Charles, Frederick; five grandchildren, Robert W. Welch, Pittsburgh, Pa., Joseph Snell, Oakland, Nicole L. Ridder and husband Reggie, Frederick, Blair Welch, Washington, D.C., and Ian Welch, Philadelphia, Pa.; and two great-grandchildren, Elizabeth Ridder and Ryan Ridder, both of Frederick; and his brother, Donald P. Welch and wife Joan, Morgantown, W.Va.
Bill was raised on his family's 250-acre farm at Gortner, where he attended Gortner Union Church and Swan Meadow school. Both original buildings still stand at Gortner today.
He graduated from Oakland High School in May 1943, and then enlisted in the US Navy. Bill served as a radio operator in both Atlantic and Pacific fleets. He was proud to help deliver the brand new LST 1079 from Boston through the Panama Canal to Hawaii, where he transferred to LST 502 to prepare for the invasion of Japan. After Japan surrendered, LST 502 was among the first US ships to enter Aomori in northern Japan.
Home from WWII at nineteen, Bill attended Catherman's School in Cumberland, before taking a job as a telegraph operator for the B&O Railroad at Piedmont, W.Va. There, in 1947 his best friend, Jim Lake, introduced him to the love of his life, AT&T telephone operator Patricia DeWitt.
Pat and he married at Piedmont, W.Va. on Oct. 22, 1948. In 1950, they moved to Oakland, where they raised five children. For 57 consecutive years, from 1949 until 2006, they had a child or grandchild living with them. Bill enjoyed people and sports. In the 1960s he played for the club championship at Oakland golf course. He held membership in military and civilian social clubs. In Aug.,1965, with six hours' notice, he invited about thirty golfers playing for the Western Maryland Golf Championship home for spaghetti dinner. Pat managed it somehow; then they talked. Using that winter's supply of homemade spaghetti sauce was a one-time event.
He bought his parents' public-school bus in the 1960s. By the mid-1970s he and Pat each owned their own school bus. In the 1980s they sold the buses and Bill retired from the B&O. From the 1970s into the 1990s Bill and Pat enjoyed summer travels to visit family and friends and to attend World War II reunions. He - they - had friends in many states.
Bill was thankful for many things. He loved Pat and their children. At his request, he was cremated. Per both their wishes, interment of their ashes and a service celebrating their lives and marriage will be at Gortner Union Church in the spring on a date to be determined.
The family thanks Newman Funeral Homes, P.A., 1100 Memorial Dr., Oakland, for managing arrangements.
Expressions of sympathy may be directed to Southern Garrett County Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 378, Oakland.
Condolences may be sent to his family at www.newmanfuneralhomes.com.
Published on January 12, 2018