Saturday, January 04, 2014
Saying Goodbye To My Father
My father, Ray Allen Welsh, peacefully past away last night at his home in Marshall, Illinois with our family surrounding him. He was 83. I am so thankful that I was able to be at his side, along with my mother, brothers and sisters, even if my last moments with him were relatively brief, just to say goodbye one last time. The harsh affects of cancer that he had successfully beaten several years earlier were really starting to take their toll on him. He died quickly as he wished, not wanting to be dependent on others for his care or wasting away in a nursing home.
My father was one of the hardest working persons you would ever meet, but he always had time for his family. He was the youngest of six children and his father died when he was only two years old. His mother did an extraordinary job raising six children and holding the family farm together during the Great Depression. He studied agriculture at the University of Illinois for awhile before being drafted into the U.S. Army where he served during the Korean War. He met and married my mom a few years after he began farming with his brothers and raised five children with her.
He retired from farming a few years ago and enjoyed sharing coffee with old friends every morning and hanging out at the local VFW post and playing cards. He was an avid sports fan who particularly enjoyed attending all of his grandchildren's sporting events. It's hard to believe that he was able to attend his last ISU basketball game only last weekend where my nephew is playing his last season.
He will always be remembered for his consistent positive outlook on life, unswerving loyalty to his wife and family and charitable giving to others less fortunate than him. We're all going to miss him a great deal, but we are content knowing that he lived his life as fully, happily and honestly as can be expected of any human being in the eyes of our Lord and always treated others with the greatest respect.