Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Flags at the Region of Queens Municipality's (RQM) Administration building and Queens Place Emera Centre were lowered to half-mast Sept. 20-22 out of respect for former Town of Liverpool civic politician and deputy mayor John "Charles" or "Charlie" Welch who died September 17 at the age of 72.
The well-liked, community-minded man served on the Town of Liverpool from 1990-1996 and helped lead the transition as the town was absorbed into what is now called the Region of Queens Municipality.
Welch was laid to rest September 22.
"He was a very nice person and easy to work with," said Peggy Atkinson, who served on council with Welch. "The one thing I admired about him is that when something came up that needed more discussion and debate, he usually came well prepared because he had done his research. I found that very enlightening and very important."
She recalls that he was very community-minded, was a great volunteer and helped out in the community where he could.
Current RQM Mayor Darlene Norman said she knew him as a businessman in the community.
"He was a good fellow and good-natured. I knew his family well," she said.
According to the RQM flag policy, flags are lowered when any mayor, former mayor, warden or councillors or former councillors have died.
Welch was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick, but called Liverpool his home for the past 40 years.
He was involved in the community and served on a number of committees of council, such as the Business Improvement District Commission, Waterfront Development Corporation, Queens Memorial Arena Association and the Joint Services and Arbitration Committee.
He was also a member of the local Kinsmen club and a member of the local school board and coached minor hockey.
Welch had been employed at Steadman's for many years and worked for them in various locations in the Maritimes. He was transferred to Liverpool in 1971 and with the exception of a year working in Lunenburg, soon after, he spent all of his years in Liverpool and worked at a couple of different jobs including a stationery and book store.
Charlie had retired just two years ago from his job at Valley Stationers.
Despite being busy, he always had time for his wife, Anne, who had three children, Melanie, Adrienne and Jay, and five grandchildren.
The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July.
He was a great husband. He was a really good guy," said Anne just two days after the funeral. "He was the love of my life. He was always thinking about me all of the time – how he could support me and encourage me. And once we started our family, he was just the best father you could imagine. It was all about those kids."
She said his family was number one on his priority list and lived a full life and enjoyed skiing, boating, fishing, curling, travelling, golfing, reading and working with wood.
"We had these boys, young men now, that were at the funeral that just had so many stories. I couldn't get over it," said Anne. "There was one guy that said he was the first person that treated me for me."
Oldest daughter Melanie said it was incredible the stories that she was told about her father while attending his funeral.
"For him, it was how can I make that person happy and what can I do to put a smile on their face," she said.
She recently received a message from a family member who lived across the street from them on Bristol Avenue. This person said that she just found out that it was Melanie's father who used to pay a visit to her house on Christmas Eve as Santa Claus.
"He went to all the houses on the street dressed up as Santa just to tell the kids to go to bed early and listen to their parents," said Melanie. "I never really thought of that, but we do have photos of us sitting on his lap dressed as Santa."
She has been overwhelmed with stories about how he encouraged others.
"He wanted to know about people. He was genuinely interested in what you did and why you did it and how he could help you make it better," said Melanie. "Growing up in our house we were also encouraged. 'You don't know until you try it. Just try it, just do it,' he would say."
She said all the grandchildren cherished him and said that they could never be too silly around him.
John was a family man, a devoted husband, father and grandfather and community supporter.
"He led a full life and ... I know he was happy," said Anne.