Patrick J. Welch Sr., 83, of Janesville died Jan. 8, 2021, in the loving care of his wife, his family, his devoted care workers and Agrace Hospice.
Pat was born in 1937 in Winona, Minn., to James and Zora (Heinz) Welch. The oldest of six children, he grew up in Tomah and Wilton, Wis. He graduated in 1955 from Wilton High School, where he met Nancy, his wife of over 61 years. They moved to Janesville in 1955, and he began working for General Motors. Pat’s story is similar to so many others from the Kickapoo Valley. He came here right out of high school to get a good-paying job on the line, and it was the beginning of a successful journey. He started on the line as an assembler and was promoted to foreman. He then held various positions, including Director of Quality Control and Production Area Manager, before his retirement in 1997. Pat and Nancy had three children, Patrick Jr., Jim (Linda), and Tierney (Randy) Grutza.
Pat appreciated the opportunity General Motors provided him and so many others like him from small towns around the state. He knew how important these jobs were to the families, and he would help others get employment if he could. He loved to meet up with people from the plant to buy a beer and share a story. He was very impressed with the UAW GM workforce and never stopped telling people that the success of the Janesville Plant was due to the exceptionally high quality of the people who worked there. Indeed, the plant became his second family.
Pat is survived by his wife, Nancy. She was his strongest advocate and primary aide as his health declined, which allowed him to be home in her care before he passed. He is also survived by his sons, Pat Jr. and Jim, and his daughter and son-in-law, Tierney and Randy; his grandchildren, Patrick III, Ted, James, David, Randall and Nicole; his siblings, Kathleen Harrison, Tom (Mary) Welch, Ted (Mary) Welch, Mary Moore, and Tim (Donna) Welch; his in-laws, Betty Zirk, Margaret Meacham and Lorrie (Larry) Bever; many nieces and nephews; his caretaker and special friend, Brenda; and his faithful canine sidekick, Rascal.
Pat was predeceased by his daughter-in-law, Linda, who was called to her eternal glory in December. He was also predeceased by brothers-in-law, Charles (Chuck) Moore, Edward (Eddie) Zirk, Wesley Meacham and Hollis (Jim) Meacham, and his nieces, Lisa Harrison Gray and Sarah Moore.
The Welch family would like to acknowledge a group of angels that swooped in at a very difficult time. There are no words that can adequately describe the support that we have received from Agrace Hospice. Losing Linda and Pat was devastating, but in each step of the journey, we had guides and care given by some of the kindest and most professional people that we have ever met. Pat’s nurses, including Sarah, Heidi and Holly, made things happen when we needed them, and they shared with us what we needed to hear as we neared the end. Pat had many other caregivers from Agrace during his time at home, and we sincerely thank them and all of the Agrace staff for everything that they did to make Pat’s last days comfortable. The family would greatly appreciate that in lieu of flowers, any donations be made to Agrace Hospice.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday Jan. 23, at St. John the Baptist Church in Wilton, Wis. The family is very concerned about the safety of all of Pat’s family and friends and will therefore host a memorial video at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, followed by the service live streaming at 10 a.m. This entire event will be broadcast as one gathering via Zoom:
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Meeting ID: 836 3772 5623