Robert “Bob” John Welch, 72, died on March 2, 2018 at Genesis Health Center in Lebanon, NH after a period of declining health.
He was born at Woodville’s Cottage Hospital on Aug. 18, 1945 to Earl and Betty (Shearer) Welch. He grew up in Bradford next to Shearer’s Greenhouses, a business that had been established by his maternal grandparents in 1925. He was a member of the Bradford Boy Scouts and Explorers and greatly enjoyed the associated activities. As a member of the Bradford Congregational Church (UCC) he taught Sunday school during his high school years.
Bob graduated from Bradford Academy in 1963 and within months entered the United States Navy. During the next eight years he served aboard two SSBN submarines as a Missile Fire Control Technician, achieving the rank of E-6.
On June 29, 1965, he married Charlotte Martin of Fairlee. Over the next few years their first two children, Lisa and Jon, joined them as he was stationed at naval bases in South Carolina and California.
Following an honorable discharge in 1971, Bob entered Johnson State College. After graduation in 1975, Bob taught math at Milton (VT) High School for four years. Their youngest child Scott joined the family in 1976. Bob often recalled with pleasure and pride his naval and teaching years.
In 1979, he and Charlotte returned to Bradford to purchase the family floral business and greenhouses which they operated together until this past February.
Bob was active in the Bradford Fire Department for four decades, serving as its treasurer in recent years. In recognition of his service, the flag at the Bradford Station was lowered to half-staff upon news of his death.
He is predeceased by his parents. He leaves behind his wife as well as his three children: Lisa (George) Rodriguez of Eastvale, CA, Jon Welch of Montpelier, VT and Scott (Angela) of Fairlee, VT; his two brothers, Bruce (Debbie) Welch of Brookfield, VT and Jason Welch of Bradford. His eight grandchildren include George and Alex Rodriguez, Austin, Corienna and Nathanael Welch, Bailey, Liam and Ava Welch. He is also survived by an extended Martin family.
Privately, Bob was a quiet family man, known for his precise thinking. Publicly, Bob was a well-known grower of geraniums and arranger of flowers. In earlier years, he enjoyed working on his woodpile, often splitting up to 32 cords to be used for both the household and greenhouses. He loved his dogs and recalled with special memories his beagle-lab mix Sam.
A military graveside service will be held in Bradford’s Upper Plain Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 15. All are invited. Hale Funeral Homes is in charge of the arrangements. Donations in Bob’s memory may be made to the Bradford Fire Department, P.O. Box 302, Bradford, VT 05033.
Online guestbook at www.halefuneralhomes.com