William J. “Bill” Welch

William J. “Bill” Welch

William J. “Bill” Welch


William J. “Bill” Welch, 81, of rural Winthrop, Iowa, went to his heavenly home on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at the Strawberry Point Lutheran Home in Strawberry Point, Iowa.

Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Winthrop, with the Rev. David Beckman officiating.

Visitation: 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday and from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Fawcett-Schmitz Funeral Home in Winthrop. Rosary: 3:30 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. Interment: St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery, Winthrop, Iowa, with military honors.

Online obituary at www.jamisonschmitzfuneralhome.com.

William Joseph Welch was born Feb. 27, 1941, in Manchester, Iowa, the son of Charles John & Mary Burnita (Keenan) Welch. Bill was the oldest son; his younger brothers were Patrick and Jerome. The family lived at rural Winthrop until moving to Fremont, Nebraska in October of 1950 where his father ran a beef feed lot operation and a farrow to finish hog operation. Bill attended St. Patrick Catholic School and played football, basketball and baseball. In May of 1956, Bill graduated the eighth grade and the family moved to Spokane, Wash., where he attended Gonzaga Prep School. He played football, basketball and baseball at Gonzaga Prep and graduated in May of 1960. Bill attended the University of Portland in Portland, Ore., where he graduated with a degree in finance and economics on Jan. 30, 1965.

Bill joined the U.S. Air Force on Feb. 15, 1965, and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in May of 1965. Bill went to flight school and received his wings on April 8, 1966. He flew C-130 planes out of Forbes AFB, Topeka, Kansas from May 21, 1966, until Jan. 12, 1969. He spent time flying in Europe and Central and South America. Bill flew C-47’s in Vietnam from April 12, 1969, to April 8, 1970. Bill then had a one-year break in his military service. He then flew C-141’s from April 21, 1971, until October 10, 1976, at Travis AFB, California. Bill’s next assignment was Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Ala. He worked at the command post and did planning functions from October 1976 until November 1979. Bill then went to Germany where he worked in operation planning from November of 1979 to November of 1982. Bill’s last assignment was chief of flight planning operations at Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska from November of 1982 until he retired in March of 1986. Bill returned to college where he studied computer programming for two years. Bill then worked for the Air Force in environmental work for one year and then did budget work at SAC AFB operations for three years, ending his work with the Air Force in March 1992. Bill returned to the family farm in Winthrop where he operated the farm for 21 years, retiring in December of 2012.

Bill enjoyed cooking, gardening, reading, working out three times a week, was an Iowa Hawkeyes football and basketball fan, a Cubs and Dodgers baseball fan and enjoyed being outdoors. Bill was a faithful member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, was Buchanan County Farm Bureau president for four years, voting delegate for three years, Winthrop American Legion Post 560 member, V.F.W. Post 2440 commander for two years, District Commander for three years, Air Force Association treasurer for three years, 3rd and 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus and was Deputy Grand Knight for two years.

Bill is survived by a brother, Patrick Welch of Winthrop; and a host of friends.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Jerry; aunt and uncle; and many cherished friends.

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