Nikiski resident John Welch died Sunday, July 18, 2004, at the Homer Boat Harbor of heart failure. He was 65.
His family is planning a private service to honor him.
Mr. Welch was born Nov. 21, 1938, in Petersburg, Texas. He graduated from high school and attended the University of Texas in Arlington. He also served honorably in the U.S. Air Force for four years. Prior to moving to Alaska, he worked for Summit Airlines for 14 years and was the owner of Milo Sport Shop for two years. In 1988, he moved to Soldotna and was a pilot for SouthCentral Air. He retired from there in 1995.
Mr. Welch enjoyed pigeon racing, stock car racing, fishing, hunting and poker.
"John was a warm-hearted, no-nonsense man who traveled through America searching for the best that life could give for his family and himself. To his many friends in Texas, Washington, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Florida and Alaska, he was a jokester and storyteller, a generous man, but also a fiercely competitive pigeon racer and poker player," his family said.
"He loved to fly and carried thousands of passengers safely to their destinations in harsh weather or blue skies. Staying well clear of cities and highways when he could, his best hours were spent fishing on quiet rivers or grilling by the lakeside with a beer in his hand. Never afraid to speak his mind, he always stood up for his friends and his country, right or wrong. He enjoyed having a good time but never stopped wondering about the meaning of life and his place in the world. We all miss him dearly and will never forget him."
Mr. Welch was preceded in death by his parents, Julia and Brown Welch.
He is survived by his wife, Frances A. Welch of Nikiski; sons, Jon D. Welch of Berkeley, Calif., and Michael Welch of Soldotna; brother, David Welch of Kamiah, Idaho, and Brown Welch and his wife, Libby, of Fort Worth, Texas; and sister, Jolene Mershon and her husband, Jim, of Mansfield, Texas.
Memorial donations may be given in Mr. Welch's name to the charity of the donor's choice.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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