Louise A. Welch, 78, West Concord
Louise Ann Welch nee Gillen of West Concord, born May 20, 1941, died Sept. 20, 2019, age 78 after succumbing quickly, quietly, and painlessly to cancer.
Louise attended Bethlehem Academy in Faribault, graduating in 1959, whereupon she entered Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic in religious service to God and the Catholic Church. For 13 years, Sister Ann Gregory lovingly served her fellow man, loved and taught children, and traveled between Ossining, New York and Chile bringing God’s love to his creation. Louise described this time of her life as her favorite, though that was before she became a grandmother.
Louise loved children and loved teaching children. She matriculated from Mary Rogers College in 1968 with a B.S in Elementary Education, later receiving an endorsement in Kindergarten education from Mankato State University in 1985.
In 1971, Louise responded to the encouragement of Vatican II and pursued a secular life, returning to Minnesota and Wisconsin where she taught elementary. Louise taught elementary education from 1968 until her retirement in 2007, at: St. Anthony’s in Bronx, New York; San Vicente, Chillan, Chile; St. Anne’s in Somerset, Wisconsin; Consolidated Catholic Schools in Faribault; and finally at Triton in Dodge Center. She also taught religious education in the Catholic Church from 1975 until 1989.
Louise serendipitously met her future husband Richard Delois Welch and becoming wed on Feb. 2, 1973. Louise birthed four children, so dear to her heart, and she and R.D. raised them in Byron and West Concord: Anne Catherine Welch of Minneapolis; Melvin (Gwendolyn) Richard Welch of Marine on St. Croix; Henry (Julia) Delois Welch of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and Maria Rose Welch of Chicago, Illinois.
Her steady heart, gentle hand, calming voice, and loving spirit championed her children in their lives’ work and healed their hurts. She was a devoted grandmother to her grandchildren, Samuel Isaac (Anne), William Henry and Edmund Richard (Mel and Gwen), and Tamino Joachim and Phillipa Louise (Henry and Julia). She spent her last couple weeks surrounded by their peals of laughter, crying demands, tantrums, vigorous hugs, and sweet kisses with her perpetual smile.
First daughter and second child of Gregory and Varian Gillen of Dundas, she is preceded in death by her father and mother, her brothers Lawrence Gillen and Martin Gillen of Dundas, and her husband, R.D. Welch of Morristown.
She is survived by her children and grandchildren; 11 siblings, Jake Gillen, Peter Gillen, Steve (and Jan) Gillen, Cecilia (and Bob) Sorenson, George (and Deb) Gillen, Mary Johnson, Laura (and Chuck) Hansen, Gregory (and Lynne) Gillen, Paul (and LaVern) Gillen and Chuck (and Roxanne) Gillen; over 40 nephews and nieces, and hundreds of extended family, each of whom she loved unhesitatingly.
Louise was a devout Catholic, loving the Lord and His creation, and loved to sing His praises; she never tired of meeting new people, taking the time to know them, their families and their hearts and she cultivated love throughout the world with everyone she met. Louise spoke Spanish fluently, work tireless to cultivate a welcoming home for Hispanics, and she held an especial place of affection for the Hispanic communities, loved their family focus and community. Louise leaves behind a family far greater than those fortunate enough to be her kin, and though those who remain will carry on with heavy hearts, Heaven’s host rejoice to welcome her home.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Sept. 30, 2019 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in West Concord with Father John Lasuba officiating. Interment was in Riverside Cemetery in Morristown.
Funeral arrangements were handled by Michaelson Funeral Homes in West Concord and Owatonna.