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Richard Francis (Dick) Welch


Richard Francis (Dick) Welch, 84, of Swisher, Iowa, passed away on Feb. 22, 2018, after a short illness. Services: 10:30 a.m. Monday at Teahen Funeral Home by Penny Ackerman. Friends may visit with the family on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. and on Monday after 9:30 a.m.
Dick was born May 8, 1933, in Fort Wayne, Ind,, the son of Alfred Francis Welch and Blanche Isabel (Lamport) Welch.
Dick grew up in Fort Wayne and attended South Side High School, graduating in the class of 1951. He then completed an EE degree (electrical engineering) at Purdue University in 1955. While at Purdue, he met and married Mary Jo Bickham of Payne, Ohio, in 1954. They had two children, Cynthia Ann (born 1961) and Daniel Richard (born 1965). After graduating Purdue, Dick served at the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, which kindled his lifelong interest in railroading.
Dick moved to Cedar Rapids in 1965, and worked in sales for General Electric, Collins Radio and Comstrand Inc. From the early 1980s until his retirement in 2001, he ran his own electronics sales business, the R.F. Welch Co.
Dick married Melba in 1978, and they lived in North Liberty for many years before moving to Swisher in 2008.
Throughout his life, Dick enjoyed fishing and boating with his family during his regular visits to Long Lake near Longville, Minn. He enjoyed classic British roadsters, was a licensed pilot and was skilled at carpentry and restoration. Dick also was a former member of the downtown Cedar Rapids Rotary.
After retiring, Dick served as president of the Iowa Railroad Passengers Association and on the board of the National Railroad Passengers Association. He also served as president of the board of the Old Creamery Theatre in Amana.
Dick is survived by his wife, Melba Welch (nee Alecock); daughter, Cynthia (Kevin) Luther of Rockford, Ill., and her children, Morgan and Chase, and Daniel Welch (Mary Osing) of Portland, Ore., and their son, Owen Welch. Dick was stepfather, grandfather and great-grandfather to Melba's children, Steve Altheide (Erin Beggin) of Cedar Rapids, Denis (Peggie) Altheide of Cedar Rapids, Amy (Gary) Ellis of Walford, Iowa, and Erin Altheide (Bruce Wheaton) of Iowa City, and their families.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents; his half-brothers, Stanley B. Welch and Ralph Welch; and half-sister, Wyona Cummings.
Instead of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family.
Online condolences may be left to the family at www.teahenfuneralhome.com.