John William Welsh

Former resident, engineer, devoted family man

John Welsh. (Courtesy photo)

John William Welsh, 85, died Saturday, June 15, 2019, at home in Kittery, Maine, surrounded by his wife and three children.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lorrie Caton Welsh, his children and their families: Kathryn Welsh, her husband Robert Dohnal, and their son John; Karl Welsh, his wife Karen Cavallo, and their two children Gregory and Olivia; and Jennifer Benjamin and her son Jack.

Born in 1933 to William and Katherine (Erdman) Welsh, he spent his childhood in Baldwin­ville. In his early years, John worked alongside his father operating the family oil business by delivering oil and maintaining the delivery trucks. John graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1955. He soon entered Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon completion of OCS he was assigned to shore duty in Norfolk, Virginia, where he met and courted his wife, Lorrie. Despite an unconventional marriage proposal that included a wooden mouse, they married in Norfolk in 1960 and moved to Newton Highlands. Subsequent homes in Westford and Harvard, where John and his family lived for nearly 40 years, preceded their move to Kittery, Maine, in 2004.

During John’s employment years, he worked for a number of companies, including EPSCO, Computer Control Corporation, Honeywell, Raytheon, and Digital Equipment Corporation. Some of his more exciting employment “opportunities” were working aboard a nuclear submarine below the northern ice cap only months after the USS Thresher tragedy, and numerous business trips to Australia and Europe.

John’s true passions were on the home front. In his earlier years, accomplishments in a day would exceed what many would achieve in a year: tilling, planting, weeding, and harvesting a large vegetable garden; tending a small orchard with a variety of fruit trees; managing huge burn piles in early spring; caring for the enormous lawn and planting beds on their 9-acre property on Littleton Road; chopping and stacking firewood; repairing the family’s cars as well as his beloved 1932 Ford tractor, which made all the fore-mentioned efforts possible. Many of these chores were done with the help, not always willingly, of his family. He found great fulfillment in these activities and said so when recently asked what he enjoyed most in his life.

He was a devoted family man. His wife, children, and grandchildren took center stage and gave him great happiness and pride. Despite all the work, he found time for fun. There was always a hearty breakfast on weekends, and he would often cut the workday short to have a competitive game of tennis or ping pong. Folly’s Cove in Rockport frequently provided a respite from the summer heat and work. Vacation was usually a weeklong camping trip to Hermit Island, Maine, for swimming, hiking, sailing, steamed clams, and lobsters.

He felt fortunate to retire at age 58. When asked by a friend if he missed working, he replied, “Yes, for about five seconds.” Hobbies during his retirement included tennis, bike riding, camping, reading, playing bridge, woodworking; beer, wine, and bread-making; and coffee roasting. He enjoyed long walks, especially along the ocean at Fort Foster in Kittery.

A gathering to remember this special person will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., July 20 at Lorrie and John’s residence, 100 Shepard’s Cove Road, K-1, Kittery, Maine..

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