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Frank, 90, of Sun City West, AZ, and Los Alamos, NM, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on May 1, 2021.
He was preceded in death by his infant son Mark Stephen Welch, his parents Archibald and Josephine Welch, his sister Margaret Herold and his brothers John and Michael Welch.
Frank was born in Davenport, Iowa, on March 15, 1931, and was one of 8 children. The family business was a successful local gas station and Frank and his brothers all helped out there. Frank attended St. Ambrose College in Davenport and earned a degree in Accounting.
On a drive to visit an uncle in Colorado one summer Frank realized that his asthma improved dramatically. That trip to the higher elevation and drier air of the West was when he first experienced being able to take a full breath! Frank’s uncle suggested that he visit a cousin in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Frank liked the town – and the air – so much that he wanted to stay. He finished his studies at St. Ambrose and then headed back to Los Alamos to work.
Los Alamos was a small, but vibrant, post-war government town back then, with many young professionals and social activities. A few years after coming to town Frank met a young nurse named Mary V. Milliken (Ginger), and the two formed a bond that continues today. They were married on June 18, 1960, and Frank became a lifelong member of the “I Married a Milliken” club. They stayed in Los Alamos another 35 years, raising their family and working.
Frank was a dedicated career employee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (the “Lab”), working in various accounting and business areas. He was very involved in the early Lab business computing systems, and he was instrumental in the Lab transition to desktop computing. He earned an MBA degree and managed several key data processing operations.
Frank was also a valued member of the Los Alamos community. He was on the board that initiated the building of Barranca Mesa Pool, he was a longtime supporter and board member of the Los Alamos Aquatomics Swim Team, and he volunteered as a Y-Indian Guides leader and a Grey Y football and basketball coach. He was a dedicated parishioner, council member and catechism teacher of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
Frank was diagnosed with asthma at an early age, but he found his true calling as an athlete (his nickname was “Bullet”) once he moved to the clear air of the Southwest. He loved skiing, golf, softball, tennis, hiking, and track. Frank supported all his children in all their athletic (and non-athletic) endeavors. He was on the Senior Olympics 800 meter world record-breaking relay team in 1992. When he retired and moved to Sun City West, Arizona, he pursued his athletic dreams - Senior Olympics, tennis, and playing softball for 20 years. In Sun City West he was also very involved as a dedicated parishioner and council member of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church.
Frank loved traveling with his family. With a carload of children, he made trips to the Midwest and Elmira, NY, and he loved hosting the annual family reunion in Angel Fire, NM. He also enjoyed taking wonderful trips around the globe with his children and his brothers and sisters.
Frank is survived by Ginger, his wife of 61 years; their 5 children: Kathie Wright (Orbry), Bill Welch (Chi), Frank Welch (Michael), John Welch (Micaela), and Tim Welch (Bridget). He was “Papa” to his 12 grandchildren: Sarah Nelson (Nate), Betsy Rodriguez (Raul), Becca Wright (Greg), Christopher Welch, Abbie Wright, Ceara Melton (Kyle), Margaret Cardiel (Mateo), Patrick Welch, Josh Scheel, Mark Welch, Kelly Welch, and Ava Welch; and his 6.5 great-grandchildren: Raegan, Colin, Leo, Emi, Ellison, Skylar, and Maddox. He is survived by his sisters, Mary Peeters, Sally Tueckes (Mac), and Sue Murphy (John); his brother, Bill Welch (Lucille); and his many, many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Frank’s kindness, humor, grace, and warm heart will be missed by us all.
There will be a service at Lord of Life Church in Sun City West, AZ, on June 19, 2021 at 11:00 A.M., and a service at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Los Alamos, NM, on July 10, 2021 at 10:00 A.M.
In lieu of flowers, any memorial donations can be made to the charity of your choice, or to: Benedictine Mission House, Africa School Project for Father Damian, P.O. Box 528, Schuyler, NE 68661-0528.