March 23, 1922—Feb. 20, 2016 Benjamin Taylor Welch, son of Isaac and Jennie Fizer Welch, was born March 23, 1922, in Liberal, KS, and passed away Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, at Wharton Nursing Home in Pleasant Hill, TN. He was one month shy of his 94th birthday. Mr. Welch and his wife, Winifred Elizabeth Schaumburg, who preceded him in death, moved to Cumberland County in 1988 after retiring from 38 years of ministry in the United Methodist Church in the Southwest Texas Conference. He served churches in Corsicana, San Antonio, Pettus, Cotulla, San Benito, Bastrop, Goldthwaite, and Floresville during the tumultuous years of civil rights, integration, the Vietnam War and women’s rights. He never wavered from his faith in Jesus’ gospel of love and reconciliation and touched many lives in being a servant. He lived his faith everywhere he served, taking leadership roles in numerous community organizations, including the Boy Scouts, American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood, County Child Welfare Boards, and ecumenical organizations. He was a lifelong supporter of civil rights and actively challenged efforts to block integration of Texas public schools, to the point of having a cross burned in the yard of his home after speaking at an NAACP Conference in San Antonio in the mid-'50s. In later years he spoke out in favor of admission of gay kids and leaders to the BSA. Prior to becoming a minister, Mr. Welch served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and graduated from the University of Texas (after a stint at the University of Kansas). After college, he became a Boy Scout Executive with the Capitol Area Council of Texas until hearing the call to ministry. He then graduated from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. In retirement, Mr. Welch enjoyed building and working with wood, hiking and camping, reading and writing, and standing up for the rights of others. Mr. Welch came out of retirement to serve Pleasant Hill Community Church, UCC, as an interim pastor and a United Methodist congregation in Milan, Italy, for two months. Mr. Welch is survived by his five children, Don (wife Julia), Debbie (husband Steven), Rick (wife Shelia), Kip (wife Christine), and Ed (wife Shannon); 13 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Mr. Welch donated his body to Meharry Medical School. An informal service of remembrance with dessert to follow will be held on Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m. at the Pleasant Hill Community Church, UCC, in Pleasant Hill, TN.
Published on  March 22, 2016