Richard "Dick" Welsh
Richard Charles Welsh, 87, of Lakeside, Arizona, passed away peacefully on June 6th, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona. He joins in heaven his wife of 49 years Dolores (Koehnemann) Welsh (2003) and his son Mark Richard (1958) who preceded him in death.
Richard “Dick” Welsh began his life’s journey in Erie, PA on November 5th, 1930. Dick graduated from Lawrence Park High School in 1948 with a love of playing the upright bass and cello. After graduating from high school, Dick enlisted in the military for 8 years (Navy/Air Force) where his dream of flying airplanes was fulfilled. He served during the Korean War, piloting an F8F fighter plane and played big band music in seaports in the Far East. While Dick was stationed in Illinois, he met his future wife, Dolores Koehnemann, of Champaign, ILL at a USO dance. Dick and Dolores were married 6 months later on June 19th, 1954 in Merced, CA. Soon after that, Dick shipped out to Chitosi AFB, Japan where Dolores joined him on their first of many adventures.
When Dick was discharged from military service, the family moved to Erie, PA where he worked as an engineer with GE and at Bucyrus Erie for 30 years. As a master machinist, Dick was able to create any needed parts from scratch. His favorite achievement was being the project manager for the Chamberlain building in Nogales, Mexico during his final years of employment. Dick enjoyed playing music alongside his wife Dolores and performed in dance bands, symphonies, and Community Dinner Theater. For several years Dick was a scoutmaster in Erie, sharing his love of the outdoors with many young scouts. His love of camping, traveling, reading, hiking, fishing, and cooking was passed on to his children. He spent many hours creating a campsite on our tree-filled property, building two tree houses and a fabulous deck where we had countless cookouts and family meals.
After having lived in Pocatello, ID, Jamestown, ND, and Tucson, AZ, he and Dolores moved to Lakeside, AZ to fully enjoy their mutual love of nature. In his later years, he made many friends and brought a smile or laughter to all with his quick wit. His many Pinetop-Lakeside friends looked forward to green sprinkled donuts every St. Patrick’s Day as he played the “Mountain Leprechaun.” Even though Dick first began playing Santa Claus in the 1960s; he became a true to life Santa Claus with his white beard, touching many people through his charity work and selfless attitude. Dick loved his country fiercely. He supported Veterans in any way he could and always flew the American flag at his home. His unwavering faith carried him through many difficult times in his life. He also served as a 4th degree lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus in the Catholic Church.
Richard is survived by five of his children - Tom (Susan) Welsh of New Orleans, LA; Mary McKenna of Bozeman, MT; Meg (Jim) Pietsch of Tucson, AZ; Sarah (Charlie) Johnston of Winnipeg, Canada; Amy (Randy)Brauer of Tucson, AZ; Ten grandchildren – Sarah Norcott; Cheryl (Chris) Williams; Elizabeth (Daniel) Martin, Jennifer Turklay; Sachelle, Corbin, and Mazlyn Johnston; Patrick Muhlenbeck; Angela and Adam Brauer; and three great-grandchildren – Tyler and Jeremy Martin and Chase Williams.
Visitation with Honor Guard and Rosary will be held Sunday July 1st 5 to 7 pm at Adair Avalon Funeral Chapel, 8090 N Northern, Oro Valley, AZ. The Memorial Mass will be celebrated July 2nd 11am at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 8650 N Shannon Rd, Tucson, AZ with Knights of Columbus. A reception will follow the Memorial Mass at Omni Tucson National Resort, 2727 W Club Dr, Tucson, AZ.
The family would like to thank the Casas De La Luz Hospice at Hacienda on the River in Tucson for their exceptional loving care and support.