LEE - On the afternoon of October 24, Bill journeyed on alone to his forever future. Except for the final week of his life, he filled every moment of his days with an exuberance for living and refused to relinquish control of his days to dementia. Reunited now with his dad, William Welch, Sr.; mom, Alfreda; sister, Linda; wife of 31 years, Martha; and his best furry pal, Rassie, he has reached his ultimate home. Those who love him have prayed long and hard for his well-being and now are grateful for his relief from earthly pain.
He leaves behind his wife, companion and caregiver, Donna; five daughters, Sarah Susen and her husband, David along with children, Gabe and his new wife, Heather, Becky, Elijah, Leah, Davey, Joseph, Esther, Solomon and Ellie; Debbie Slocum and her husband, Jeff and children, Bella, Amelia and Andrew; Rachel Croce and husband, Sky, with children, Allie, Tabby, Cassie and Tommy; Maureen Carmichael and husband, Will, with children, Ethan and Nolan; and Kit Potelle and husband, Dan; sister, Laurel and husband, Don; a niece and four nephews; step-daughter, Deanna Runeman and step-granddaughters, Savvy and Sadie; plus a myriad of golfing, hunting and fishing buddies; neighbor, teacher, student and church friends; those offering help, kind words and encouragement; and especially Judy and Carol and the loved ones to whom they give care who have Bill's same disease.
Bill was a 32 year teacher of high school sciences, an avid gardener, canoe maker, bee keeper, skier and 12 year Ski Patrol member, lover of 50's/60's music, Harley driver, catamaran maker and sailor, snowmobiler, camper, apple pie and cheese biscuit maker, and pilot in training. Born in Rockland on March 31, 1941, his family moved to Clinton and he never forgot the wonderful next door neighbors, the Scribners, who often provided "Little Billy" with cookies and great memories that called him home frequently in later years. His small town pride kept him in frequent attendance at class reunions and he'd happily point out his high school basketball and baseball photos on display. He was a master of the Rubik's Cube, loved to geocache, and was an avid photographer. After retirement, Bill traveled to Europe where he visited the ruins in Rome and saw the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel, visited Monaco, spent several days in England a block from Buckingham Palace, and cruised the Thames. He cruised to Alaska for 7 days, flew to Hawaii in 2009 and in 2012, went to Disney World with his extended family.
Visiting hours will be Monday from 2-4 and 7-9 at Clay Funeral Home, in Lincoln, where a eulogy full of "humorous Bill moments" will be given at 7:30. A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, at St. Mary Catholic Church, in Lincoln, with burial at the family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery, in Lee. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes to establish a memorial fund to support a student attending Mattanawcook Academy who was chosen to enter the field of education or religion. (Per Bill's request, "Lighten up! Don't wear black!") Those who wish may sign an online guest register and leave written condolences at www.clayfuneralhome.com.